I just think the Phillies have already lost the battle, and can't afford to lose the war. Not signing JT for the greater good of the franchise's future is completely logical, if the market for him is heavy. But at this point if they lose him, regardless of what happens at the front office level, Middleton will be a joke in this town (if he isn't already) and based on yesterday's post-game comments, will have lost the respect of his two best players (and possibly his manager) too.
If they do make a change, that's gonna be the first interview question. "What are you going to do to keep JT Realmuto here?"
I am concerned about what his deal will be like for the Phillies in three years, but it's not at all crippling in and of itself now. You could offer him the six year, $150 million deal that takes him off the market (Goldschmidt's five-year $130 being the benchmark) and that's only $15 million more in AAV than he makes now - more than covered by subtracting Arrieta (or almost covered by subtracting Robertson). If you lose him you're still going to spend most of that $25 million on a catcher and a bat.
In the meantime, if the Phillies want to gamble that the COVID market lets them get away with five years or less AAV, that doesn't bother me, as long as they are ready to play at the end. Which they previously have been.