It’s been a bleak weekend for Phillies fans. According to Bill Madden of The New York Daily News, Phillies owner John Middleton is less than optimistic when it comes to bringing back J.T Realmuto, in large part due to the financial losses suffered during the pandemic.
“I’m told in an organization meeting last week, Phillies managing partner John Middleton told his baseball people that the club lost nearly $2 billion this year and is not in position to re-sign Realmuto or any other big-ticket free agents.”
$2B sounds like an awful lot of money and could well being used as an over-exaggeration. The pandemic was incredibly tough on sports teams but in a report by the Philadelphia Business Journal that dove into the team’s annual marketing report, it was estimated the loss stood at close to $200M. That’s still scary, but nowhere near as bad.
Only adding to the troubles is the fact that according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the organization had to cut 17% of its workforce recently. 80 people lost their jobs and while some were given a payoff, others weren’t so lucky.
If the losses are as significant as Middleton alludes to, then it does seem unlikely that he’d want to then put all his chips on J.T Realmuto, who rejected the team’s lowball qualifying offer this past month.
It’s not like this comes as a surprise. Middleton always sounded like his mind had already been made up. This has frustrated fans and teammates alike, who know that retaining one of the best catchers in baseball is a no-brainer if they want to compete.
Realmuto lived up to all expectations and had a dominant first season after the Phillies traded top prospect Sixto Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro, and another prospect to the Marlins for him. In a shortened 2020 season, he only looked to get better.
It’s obviously a tough time for the Phillies, but it’s also a tough time for their fans and players who are watching one of the best talents in the league slip through their fingers without much of a fight.
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