By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Phillies fans can finally rejoice — their favorite catcher will be donning the red pinstripes for years to come. According to multiple reports, J.T. Realmuto has agreed to a five-year, $115.5 million contract with the Phillies.

Realmuto’s contract sets a new average annual value record for catchers at $23.1 million, surpassing former Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer’s $23 million.

Realmuto is regarded as the best catcher in baseball. The Phillies acquired him from the Miami Marlins prior to the 2019 season for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro and another pitching prospect, Will Stewart.

Realmuto won a Gold Glove and was named an All-Star is his first season with the Phillies.

Fans were concerned that Phillies might not bring back Realmuto. Management said they took a hit financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but always said it was a priority to bring Realmuto back.

Phillies fans breathed a sigh of relief after the news came down.

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Realmuto, who turns 30 in March, hit .266 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a career-best OPS of .840 last season. He earned $3,703,704 prorated for the pandemic-shortened season from a $10 million salary.

In his two seasons with the Phils, he has hit .273, with 36 home runs, 115 RBI, 125 runs scored and an .825 OPS.

His deal is the second-largest of the offseason behind outfielder George Springer’s $150 million, six-year contract with Toronto.

Realmuto’s market narrowed last month when the New York Mets went for a less expensive option and signed James McCann to a $40.6 million, four-year deal.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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