Mets and Yankees potential target J.T. Realmuto will reportedly reject qualifying offer

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, JT Realmuto
Aug 25, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) hits a three run home run against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The best catcher in baseball will officially hit free agency. J.T. Realmuto, who played the last couple of seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, will reportedly reject the team’s qualifying offer and is now set to enter the market, one that could have a lot of suitors. Both the New York Yankees and New York Mets, especially the latter, could be tempted to make a competitive offer.

The fact that Realmuto will not sign the one-year, $18.9 million offer tells us that there should be quite a market for him out there. He is said to be seeking a multiyear offer that could be close to the $200 million range, although with the current market uncertainties, reaching that number could be difficult.

He should, however, get a higher annual value than the $18.9 million of the qualifying offer while securing multiple years. Realmuto is, without a question, the most talented backstop in the bigs, and the New York Mets happen to have a hole at the position after declining Wilson Ramos’ club option just a few days ago.

He would be a clear upgrade for the Mets

Tomas Nido, while a good defensive catcher, probably won’t be starting for the Mets. The team is fully expected to find an upgrade in the position, and while the price tag could be very high, Realmuto fits the bill in what new owner Steve Cohen and the team president Sandy Alderson are looking for: players who can contribute now but also have some staying power over the next few years.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have both Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka in the position. Sanchez struggled so much during the 2020 season (.147/.253/.365 slash line) that he was benched in favor of Higgy during the postseason. The team may explore to trade the Kraken, bring Realmuto and keep Higashioka as a backup, but it is highly unlikely because of financial reasons.

Realmuto is fresh off hitting .266/.349/.491 with a .361 wOBA and a 125 wRC+, with 11 home runs, 33 runs, 32 RBI and even 4 steals in 47 games in 2020. He has virtually no weaknesses and could even fit in the middle of the powerful Mets’ lineup.

It remains to be seen if the Mets will splash the cash on Realmuto, if they will pursue starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, or if they focus on cheaper targets at both positions.