On May 19, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hit his 15th home run of the season off of Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning, moving into a tie with Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz for the major league lead. Cruz, however, retook the MLB lead in home runs, blasting number 16 in the third inning off of Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez not too long after.
It happened again on Friday night. Bryce Harper tied Cruz for the MLB lead when he ripped an opposite-field blast off of Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning. About an hour later, Cruz hit a solo shot off of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada in the sixth inning, taking the MLB lead again at 17.
Cruz’s blast can be seen here.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies “are quietly trying to hammer out” a contract extension with J.T. Realmuto. He says it may take some time to be done — nothing is imminent — but that the sides are working on it.
Realmuto still has one final year of arbitration, and he’s likely to get $10 million or more for 2020 if nothing is done. It sounds as though he and the Phillies are both eager to cement a long term pact, however, that’ll keep him from hitting the free agent market next winter. Salisbury says the deal, once reached, could be for 4-5 years and $20+ million per season. He says an extension would likely not kick in until 2021. He and the club would agree to a separate one-year deal to cover 2020.
Realmuto, who is considered by most to be the top all-around catcher in the game at the moment, will turn 29 before the beginning of the 2020 season. He hit .275/.328/.493 with 25 homers and 83 driven in this past season, winning the Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove.