Phillies avoiding arbitration with Andrew Knapp doesn’t end search
The Phillies have gotten another arbitration-eligible player taken care of.
This isn’t the signing Phillies fans expected to hear when it comes to catchers getting new contracts.
According to Phillies insider Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies and backup catcher Andrew Knapp agreed on a one-year $710,000 deal to avoid arbitration.
The deal is $90,000 under what Spotrac projected Knapp to make in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
Signing Knapp to the one year deal puts the Phillies backstop situation back where it was last year with Knapp playing behind All-Star J.T. Realmuto, who is looking for a long-term contract extension.
Even with Knapp officially under control for another year, this shouldn’t end the Phillies search for another backup catching option. Knapp is a career .223 hitter who has never eclipsed double-digits in any extra-base hit category in his career.
Catching prospect Deivy Grullon came up late last season and did little in his four games, picking up a hit and striking out twice in nine plate appearances. He’s likely to be either traded or sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start the season.
On the free agent market there are several veteran backup catchers available for the Phillies to entertain on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
While Yan Gomes, former Phillies prospect Travis d’Arnaud, and Stephen Vogt are off the table, Matt Wieters, Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Alex Avila, Russell Martin, and Jason Castro are all available and could provide Philadelphia an upgrade over Knapp.
Wieters won two Gold Gloves early in his career and still has some pop as a switch-hitter, which could be valuable with rosters expanding to 26 players.
Boston traded Sandy Leon to Cleveland, taking an option off the trade market. I’d be surprised to see the Indians dump reigning Gold Glove winner Roberto Perez, especially given his contract with two option years remaining beyond 2020.
In our offseason simulation, we targeted Maldonado but had to settle for Wieters on a one-year deal. Either would be solid additions, and the Phillies front office has ties to Wieters in Baltimore with Andy MacPhail and others.