Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto will undergo a procedure to clean up the meniscus in his right knee, manager Gabe Kapler announced Wednesday (Twitter link via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia). With the Phillies formally eliminated from postseason contention, he’ll go under the knife now rather than play out the season’s final series. There are no long-term concerns associated with the operation, and Realmuto is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.
The surgery means that Realmuto’s season will come to a close with a strong .275/.328/.493 batting line in his first year with the Phils. Realmuto slugged 25 homers, 36 doubles and three triples over the course of 538 plate appearances while serving as something of an iron man behind the dish; no one in baseball has caught more than the 1139 innings that Realmuto did in 2019. The volume of that workload makes his output at the plate all the more impressive and heightens the value of his superlative defense. Realmuto threw out a ridiculous 47 percent of base thieves in 2019 and ranked among the best in the league in terms of pitch blocking and pitch framing.
Put simply, Realmuto is arguably the game’s best catcher. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak recently lauded Realmuto’s overall contributions and was rather candid in suggesting that an extension for the 28-year-old All-Star will be one of the organization’s priorities over the winter. The Phils control Realmuto through the 2020 season, at present, and he’ll command a sizable raise on this year’s $5.9MM salary in arbitration over the winter. Realmuto has voiced his own interest in signing a long-term pact to remain with the Phillies, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if the two sides ultimately hammer out a deal between now and Opening Day 2020.