J.T. Realmuto declines Phillies' qualifying offer, giving Mets opportunity to step up to the plate

PHILADELPHIA — J.T. Realmuto turned down a one-year qualifying offer Wednesday from the Phillies, officially putting baseball’s premier catcher on the open market just one day after new Mets owner Steve Cohen expressed a willingness to add payroll and a desire to win a title within the next five years.If Realmuto signs elsewhere, the Phillies will receive draft-pick compensation since the catcher declined their $18.9 million qualifying offer. Realmuto is seeking to earn more than $23 million a year, the record for a catcher set by Joe Mauer.Phillies managing partner John Middleton said last mo…

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