Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports indicated that the Phillies will be in the market for a catcher at the trade deadline, linking them to the top ones available.
It is still more than two months away, but there are already plenty of rumors surrounding this year’s trade deadline. For the first time in years, the Phillies will likely be buyers instead of sellers. As long as they are within striking distance of the playoffs, the club should look to make a few upgrades.
Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports listed some of the top players that will likely be available at the trade deadline and which teams will be in the market for them. Heyman had Philadelphia in the market for several catchers. He says they are the best bet to land Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos, along with being in the running for Oakland’s Jonathan Lucroy and Miami’s J.T. Realmuto.
If the Phils are looking for an upgrade at the catcher position, they would likely want to replace Andrew Knapp. He is hitting just .185 with a .513 OPS in 20 games. Knapp has struck out more and walked less compared to last season. Meanwhile, his defense has also been poor, struggling behind the plate.
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Jorge Alfaro started off the year poorly but has been hitting well in May, posting a .290/.353/.387 line this month. He has taken huge strides behind the plate, drastically improving with his pitch framing and blocking. Pair that with his cannon arm, and he is easily an above-average defensive catcher.
Any catcher the team acquires would likely have to be paired with Alfaro. The team believes he can be a long-term starter.
Heyman saying tey want to acquire another catcher is a bit surprising. However, if they choose to go that route, they have some good options.
Realmuto is listed as the second-best player likely to be available according to Heyman. Realmuto reportedly requested a trade during the offseason as the Marlins fire sale began. He is having a career season at the plate so far, posting a .302/.368/.523 line with five home runs in 22 games. Acquiring Realmuto would likely require a huge sum of prospects, but he would bring plenty of offense to this lineup.
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Lucroy and Ramos rank as the 15th and 16th best players available at the deadline and are the only other two catchers on the list. Lucroy is in the midst of a strong offensive season with a .295/.362/.390 slash line in 31 games. He has not hit one home run yet this year and only had six last year, so his 24-home run campaign in 2016 may have been an aberration rather than the new norm.
The Rays signed Ramos to a bounceback, two-year contract after he tore his ACL at the end of the 2016 season with the Nationals. He had decent stats in 64 games with them last year but has taken it a step up this year through 30 games.
Ramos has a 116 OPS+ with four home runs and 18 runs batted in this year. The Rays owe Ramos $8.5 million this year and showed during the offseason it won’t cost much to take a player off their hands that has a significant contract.
Beyond the catcher position, Heyman also said the Phillies could be in the market for starting pitchers Cole Hamels (!) and Chris Archer, along with reliever Danny Duffy.