Phillies: Top 5 free agents still available during the break
#2. Russell Martin
Entering into the 2020 offseason, a common position that fans were screaming for an upgrade at was backup catcher. Considering last year’s backup Andrew Knapp hit a whopping .213 in 2019, it’s understandable that people were itching for a change.
The flurry of initial free agent moves came and went, and the Phillies failed to add another catcher to the roster. In fact, they settled on a one-year extension with Knapp in order to avoid arbitration. Considering the Phillies top catcher prospect in Deivy Grullon got hurt prior to spring training, it would still make a lot of sense for the team to add a better backup option behind the plate.
Surprisingly, veteran catcher Russell Martin did not retire after his 2019 season with the Dodgers. At 37 years of age, it really seemed like he would call it quits, especially considering he had a pretty good “send off” season with the team that drafted him.
Alas, Martin is technically free to sign with whoever he pleases as of right now. A 14 year veteran who’s made four All-Star games, won both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove award, he’d be an instant upgrade over Knapp.
Although Martin only hit .220 in 2019 and .194 the year before, he provides so much more in terms of leadership. A seasoned pro who’s been to countless playoff games, he provides an element of experience to a very young Phillies clubhouse.
Despite the low batting average, Martin adds a legit power option off the bench. His 16 home runs over the last two seasons quadruple the amount that Knapp has had in the same amount of time. Enough said.