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AP sources: Phillies, Realmuto agree on $115.5 million deal

FILE - Philadelphia Phillies' J.T. Realmuto follows through after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves pitcher Robbie Erlin during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Philadelphia, in this Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, file photo. The Philadelphia Phillies and two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto agreed on a $115.5 million, five-year contract, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, because Realmutos deal was pending a successful physical.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
FILE - Philadelphia Phillies' J.T. Realmuto follows through after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves pitcher Robbie Erlin during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Philadelphia, in this Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, file photo. The Philadelphia Phillies and two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto agreed on a $115.5 million, five-year contract, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, because Realmutos deal was pending a successful physical.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

PHILADELPHIA – The “Sign J.T.” chants from fans gathered outside the ballpark during the pandemic-altered season and echoed by Bryce Harper and many players on the Philadelphia Phillies were loud and clear.

It's happening.

The Philadelphia Phillies and two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto agreed Tuesday on a $115.5 million, five-year contract, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Realmuto’s deal was pending a successful physical.

Realmuto gets $20 million next season, of which $10 million is deferred, with $5 million each payable in 2026 and 2027. He gets $23,875,000 in each of the final four years.

He does not have a no-trade provision. The deal includes a $1 million assignment bonus if traded.

Realmuto's average annual salary of $23.1 million will become the highest for a catcher, topping the $23 million Joe Mauer averaged in a $184 million, eight-year deal with the Minnesota Twins that covered 2011-18.

Harper posted a photo of him and Realmuto celebrating a run on Instagram soon after the news broke. Reliever Archie Bradley wrote “SignJT” on Twitter after he signed a one-year deal last week.

Realmuto was acquired from the Marlins in February 2019 in a trade that sent right-hander Sixto Sanchez and catcher Jorge Alfaro to Miami along with pitching prospect Will Stewart and $250,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation.

Realmuto made his second NL All-Star team with the Phillies in 2019 and earned a Gold Glove. He had career-highs in homers (25), RBIs (83) and slugging percentage (.493) that season.

Realmuto, who turns 30 in March, hit .266 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a career-best OPS of .840 last season. He earned $3,703,704 prorated for the pandemic-shortened season from a $10 million salary.

His deal is the second-largest of the offseason behind outfielder George Springer’s $150 million, six-year contract with Toronto.

Realmuto’s market narrowed last month when the New York Mets went for a less expensive option and signed James McCann to a $40.6 million, four-year deal.

The Phillies haven't had a winning season nor reached the postseason since 2011. They finished 28-32 under first-year manager Joe Girardi in 2020, missing a wild-card berth by one game.

Retaining Realmuto, a fan-favorite, was a priority for new President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. Giving Bradley a $6 million, one-year deal had been Philadelphia's most significant offseason move to this point.

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