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Phillies sign J.T. Realmuto to five-year, $115.5 million deal, per report

The Phillies bring back the best catcher in baseball.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are in agreement on a five-year, $115.5 million deal with catcher J.T. Realmuto, as SportsGrid’s Craig Mish first reported Tuesday:

Realmuto’s average annual value of $23.1 million is the highest for a catcher in MLB history.

While the 29-year-old catcher really should have been coveted by every team in baseball this offseason, it always seemed more likely than not that he’d return to Philadelphia, where he’s spent the past two seasons. And retaining Realmuto is a major sigh of relief for the Phillies, who are able to keep their competitive window open and won’t have to feel quite as nauseous about dealing starter Sixto Sánchez — who was crucial in the Marlins’ improbable playoff run last summer — to acquire the veteran catcher.

Realmuto is a two-time Silver Slugger, a 2019 Gold Glove winner, and a two-time All-Star who likely would be a three-time All-Star if there had been an All-Star Game in 2020. He’s a .278/.328/.455 career hitter and has stepped up his offensive game over two seasons in Philadelphia, slashing .273/.333/.492 with 36 homers in two seasons as a Phillie.

With Realmuto off the market, the dominos will likely start to fall for free-agent catchers. Robinson Chirinos, Tyler Flowers, Wilson Ramos, and Yadier Molina are among the starting-caliber backstops who are still unsigned with spring training (to the best of our current knowledge) just a few weeks away.