A name most of you probably weren’t expecting to be on this list, Deivy Grullon has established himself as one of the Phillies best minor league prospects in recent years. Hitting .283 in AAA last year, calls for Grullon to replace Andrew Knapp on the main roster grew louder and louder. With a new coaching staff coming in this past offseason, many felt Grullon would, in fact, start the season out as the team’s permanent backup catcher.
Unfortunately for Grullon, after getting limited reps in spring training due to injury, he was assigned back to AAA on March 9. Manager Joe Girardi cited that he wanted the young catcher to “get his reps in.”
While this sounds nice on the surface, at some point the front office has to look at what Grullon is, and the position which the Phillies are in with the catcher department. Set to hit the free agency market in 2021, 2x All-Star JT Realmuto is due for a massive extension from the Phillies this season. Projected to make $20+ million over five years, it’s a huge investment into the catcher position for the Phillies.
Realmuto is worth every penny, and the Phillies know this. They’ll likely expect him to play for more games during a regular season than a typical catcher would.
This leaves little room for the backup behind the plate. While Grullon is no doubt a better option than a guy like Knapp, it’s a borderline waste of assets to relegate a guy of his talent to a bench position. Throw in the fact that Grullon just turned 24 years old, at some point he’s going to want some actual playing time too.
Coming off a dominant AAA season in 2019, now would be the time to cash in on Grullon’s value. If the Phillies feel comfortable with Knapp running as a backup, and with Christian Bethancourt as the third option down in the minors, don’t be surprised if Grullon’s name starts getting shopped around.