Phillies trade rumors: Four rental options at the trade deadline
The Phillies have played their fair share of catchers having started seven since 2016 and 10 since 2014 with the likes of Koyie Hill, Cameron Rupp, and Wil Nieves making cameos for the club.
Carlos Ruiz had solidified the position for so long that addressing the position became an afterthought for years.
Thankfully the Phillies have their catcher of the future with J.T. Realmuto, arguably the best catcher in baseball. Signed through next season the Phillies and Realmuto are expected to engage in contract extension talks after the team sent top prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and pitcher Will Stewart to Miami.
Behind Realmuto, however, the Phillies have a weakness in Andrew Knapp. While he’s provided energy on the bench he’s a career .219 hitter who leaves a lot to be desired defensively.
If the Phillies want a rental option to upgrade their defense, Royals catcher Martin Maldonado should be available. While his career batting average is virtually equal to Knapps, his defensive metrics make him a valuable asset.
Last season Fangraphs rated Maldonado as one of the best pitch-framing catchers in baseball. They gave him a 19.2 defensive grade and credited him with four Strike Zone Runs Saved, both second to Yasmani Grandal.
Like Wilson Ramos last year, the Phillies can get Maldonado cheap, upgrade their bench, and have only a couple months tied to him. Kansas City has nearly twice as many losses as wins this year and they’ll be prepared to sell.