Miami Marlins Need to Sign J.T. Realmuto to a Long-Term Contract

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: J.T. Realmuto
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: J.T. Realmuto /

J.T. Realmuto is the Marlins most valuable player. I mean that in more ways than one. He is clearly on track to be the Marlins’ only 2018 All-Star representative, and he is an MLB “Total Package.”

J.T. Realmuto is an outstanding defensive catcher for the Miami Marlins. Earlier this month, he set a record with his “Pop Time.” That’s baseball parlance for how long it takes to throw to second to cut down a base-stealer.

He has handled the Miami Marlins pitching staff expertly. He hits for average and power, and he runs the bases extremely well. J.T. doesn’t simply have “good speed for a catcher”…he has great speed, period. That speed is the cherry on top for a player who should be the centerpiece of the Marlins’ plans to return to credibility, and then to the playoffs.

That’s why the Miami Marlins must make a statement now. They need to do everything possible to sign him to a long-term contract…NOW.

The Miami Marlins have some visibility here. By next season, most of their overpaid players will be gone and that will free up plenty of salary. The catcher is your on-field captain, and Realmuto is an essential piece of this team’s future. And as if that isn’t enough, there is absolutely zero depth at his position throughout the organization.

What Will it Cost the Miami Marlins?

This is a tricky subject, since there are so many aspects of contract negotiations that cannot be determined from this far outside the process. From my research using (and with a little optimism added to the mix), here is the contract signed back in 2016 by Kansas City Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, which might serve as an indicator. At the time, Perez had about 4 years of MLB service, as Realmuto will by the end of this season. Perez was 26 years old when he signed, while Realmuto is 27.

Perez received his contract after three All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves from 2013-2015. Realmuto has yet to make an All-Star team or win a Gold Glove, but he is on the verge of both. That is offset by simple baseball contract “inflation” which makes me think that Perez’s situation is a comparable one.

The Perez contract, a six-year deal, was set up like this, from 2016-2021:

$2mm, $4.2mm, $8.7mm, $11.2mm, $14.2mm, $14.2mm = $54.5mm over six years

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Realmuto is making $2.9mm this season, so the Marlins would be replacing his last two arbitration years with higher salaries than he would likely earn in arbitration.  So, perhaps something like this:

$6mm, $8mm, $10mm, $12mm, $14mm, $16mm = $66mm over 6 year.

For my money (which in this case it isn’t), the Marlins’ new ownership can start showing their fan base that they mean business. It starts with convincing their budding star catcher to sign on to be the keystone of their multi-year revival.

Editor’s note: I think it’s pretty obvious that the Miami Marlins should lock this guy up for the long term. On the flip side, the Marlins could collect a killing for his services near the trade deadline.

Next: Have you heard of Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez?

Thanks for reading. Check out our piece on Pablo Lopez. Don’t know him? He’s got a 0.24 ERA for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in double-A. That’s like, one earned run in over four games. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our daily newsletter.