Matt Klentak
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Matt Klentak on J.T. Realmuto extension: ‘There’s a lot of uncertainty right now’

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Phillies GM Matt Klentak spoke to the media via a Zoom call on Monday afternoon. He addressed a handful of topics, including the Phillies and the COVID-19 situation. Klentak was also asked about a contract extension with catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Realmuto, 29, is arguably the best catcher in baseball and is entering his final season before free agency. Last season, Baseball Reference credited him with 4.5 Wins Above Replacement thanks to outstanding defense, solid base running, and an .820 OPS backed by 25 homers and 83 RBI.

It would seem to be a no-brainer for the Phillies to make an offer to Realmuto, especially since the club has no immediate replacements. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic has hurt every team’s bottom line. The shockwaves will be felt by players entering free agency and attempting to negotiate contract extensions, as teams are likely to tighten the purse strings even more than they have been.

Per John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Klentak said, “The landscape we left in March is different from the landscape now. We have to see how that manifests itself. We still love the player and want to have him for the long haul. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. We need to factor that in.”

While there is certainly a legitimate basis for the comment, there will be public posturing until Realmuto either re-signs with the Phillies or doesn’t. Klentak would be reducing the Phillies’ leverage by gushing over Realmuto, saying how irreplaceable he is and how much the team needs him. But it’s realistic to expect depressed markets for soon-to-be free agent players, which might ultimately benefit the Phillies in retaining their star catcher.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.