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MLB rumors: Phillies offer J.T. Realmuto over $100 million; Justin Turner remains Dodgers’ top choice

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Spring training is scheduled to open in approximately four weeks and . Things are starting to pick up though — 10 top 60 free agents have signed since Jan. 1. Here are the latest hot stove rumblings.

Phillies offering Realmuto about $110 million

The Phillies are believed to be offering free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto a deal in the $110 million range, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Chances are that $110 million comes with a five-year term, though the recent DJ LeMahieu (six years, $90 million) and George Springer (six years, $150 million) contracts suggest Realmuto will be able to get a sixth year this offseason.

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Our R.J. Anderson ranked Realmuto the No. 2 available free agent, behind only Springer. The Phillies have been fairly quiet this offseason, most notably acquiring three relievers (Jose Alvarado, Archie Bradley, Sam Coonrod) to overhaul a bullpen that was historically awful in 2020. Philadelphia’s projected 2021 payroll is currently $30 million or so below their full season 2020 payroll, giving them plenty of room for Realmuto. 

For what it’s worth, MLB reporter Robert Murray reports the Braves are “circling” on Realmuto. Leaking interest from a division rival is a classic agent-side tactic to get the team back to the negotiating table. Atlanta already has the very productive Travis d’Arnaud at catcher, though he and Realmuto could sharing catching and DH duties if there’s a universal DH.

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Turner remains top choice for Dodgers

The Dodgers are seeking a right-handed hitting infielder and Justin Turner remains their top choice, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Los Angeles has also considered Marcus Semien, and they pursued LeMahieu as well. The Dodgers have a lefty-heavy lineup and an opening at third base at the moment. Semien has not played a position other than shortstop since 2014.

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Turner and Semien the No. 7 and No. 11 available free agents, respectively. If push comes to shove, the Dodgers could play Matt Beaty or Edwin Rios at third base, or even Max Muncy or Chris Taylor. That would not address the lack of righty bats, though Los Angeles does have internal options at the hot corner. They’re not absolutely desperate for third base help. It is a position that could be upgraded though.

Free-agent catcher Jason Castro has agreed to a two-year contract with the Astros, reports Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. This is a homecoming of sorts for Castro, who was selected with the No. 10 pick in the 2008 draft by the Astros, and played the first six years of his career with Houston. Castro, 33, split last year between the Angels and Padres. His bat has slipped in recent years, but he remains a very good defender and has been lauded for his work with pitchers. The Astros figure to platoon the lefty-hitting Castro with the righty-hitting Martin Maldonado behind the plate. Castro was not among our top 60 free agents.

The Royals have brought back a familiar face. Kansas City signed Wade Davis to a minor-league contract, the team announced. The deal will pay him $1.25 million at the MLB level with incentives. Davis, now 35, allowed 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings around a shoulder injury with the Rockies last year. His three seasons in Colorado were a disaster, but Davis had a Hall of Fame caliber peak from 2014-17, and a minor-league deal is no risk. The Royals will see what’s left in the tank in spring training then figure out there’s a place for him in the bullpen. Davis was not among our top 60 free agents.


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