NL East Notes: Realmuto, Neris, Lowrie, Adams, Braves

The arbitration hearings for Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and reliever Hector Neris are coming up this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports, with Realmuto’s case being heard on Wednesday and Neris on Friday.  Once Realmuto’s case has been decided, Phils GM Matt Klentak said “we’ll come to the table and see if we can find common ground on a long-term deal.  I hope that we can.  It would be nice to have some resolution prior to Opening Day….If we can’t, we could always continue those talks during the season or even into free agency if we can.”

I recently explored what an extension might look like for Realmuto, and the pros and cons that both he and the team will be weighing in trying to work out a deal.  Both sides have expressed mutual interest in an extension dating back to the end of last season, and Realmuto continued to be optimistic that a multi-year agreement can be reached.  “I could see myself staying in Philly and playing my entire career here,” Realmuto told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark.  “Also being one year away from free agency, that wouldn’t be a bad thing for me either, but I don’t think it will get to that.  I think the Phillies and myself could line up pretty well.”

More buzz from around the NL East…

  • Jed Lowrie’s first season with the Mets saw him limited to eight plate appearances and nine games due to a variety of leg problems, and these injury concerns appear to still be an issue heading into the 2020 campaign.  Lowrie wore a brace on his left leg during his first day in Spring Training camp, and told reporters (including Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News) that the brace “alleviates my symptoms and makes me feel like myself.”  Aside from saying that his left knee was the main cause of his leg problems, Lowrie didn’t provide much detail on his condition, saying that he was planning to participate in camp exercises with an eye towards being ready for Opening Day.  It remains to be seen how (or even if) Lowrie will be deployed by the Mets this season, as he’ll be fighting for playing time within their crowded infield and might yet still end up on another team, if the Mets can find a taker for his contract.
  • Matt Adams might be the latest name to join the Mets’ outfield picture, as the veteran tells Newsday’s Tim Healey that he is working out as a left fielder.  Adams appeared in 34 games as a left fielder in 2017-18 but left field is “still a fairly new position for me, so the more reps the better,” he said.  “I think just getting with the coaching staff and seeing how I can incorporate both — get my work in at first base, get work in in the outfield and get more comfortable out there.”  Adams signed a minor league deal with the Mets last month, and since his natural first base position is blocked by Pete Alonso, any positional flexibility can only help Adams’ chances of winning a spot on the 26-man roster.
  • Tyler Flowers is entering his fifth season behind the plate for the Braves, set to again participate in another timeshare, this time with the newly-signed Travis d’Arnaud.  The club’s strategy of more or less splitting the playing time between two catchers every season is a sound one, Flowers tells Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as “It has been a good way to balance starts and kind of keep both catchers fresh.”  Relying on a more traditional starter/backup allotment of playing time would make things tough on an everyday catcher since “It’s extremely difficult to start 120 [games] in Atlanta.  With the conditions, it makes it almost impossible.  I have a more difficult time than most with the heat and sweating and cramping, so I know it would be a challenge for me.”

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