The Phillies are planning to begin spring training in Florida in less than five weeks, as the team’s pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout Feb. 17 in Clearwater, Fla.
The plan, as of now, is for all teams to start spring training as normal at their usual sites in Florida and Arizona and begin the regular season on time. The Phillies are scheduled to play 32 Grapefruit League games beginning Feb. 27 before opening the season April 1 at home against Atlanta.
But those plans could shift in the next five weeks, depending on the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic.
The date of the first workout gives the team a deadline to sign J.T. Realmuto, provided they want the catcher to be present for the start of camp. The Phillies remain focused on bringing back Realmuto, who will likely earn a contract worth more than $23 million per year, the record for a catcher set in 2010 by Joe Mauer.
The free-agent market continues to crawl this winter as baseball’s top six free agents, as ranked by ESPN, remain unsigned. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, and infielder DJ LeMahieu are without teams as clubs have moved even more slowly than normal this offseason. The Phillies have yet to sign a major-league free agent but have added players this offseason through waiver claims, small trades, and minor-league contracts.
But the market might finally be…