Phillies: Seranthony Dominguez among 7 non-tender candidates
By Matt Rappa
3. Andrew Knapp
As it currently stands, catcher Andrew Knapp is the starting catcher for the Phillies, with J.T. Realmuto a free agent becoming more and more unlikely to re-sign as each day passes.
Projected to earn a little more than $1 million in arbitration, the four-year veteran would surely be a cheap everyday player; however, the Phillies would likely look to the free agent catcher pool to sign a veteran starter, if Realmuto happens to sign elsewhere.
Knapp had a career-best season in 2020, slashing .278/.404/.444 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 15 RBI, 15 walks, and just 19 strikeouts spanning 33 games and 89 plate appearances. In the field, he committed only two errors across 233 chances as catcher, and no errors spanning six chances at first base. While Knapp logged the second-most passed balls among National League catchers in 2020 (4), he also turned the fifth-most double plays (2).
Debuting in April 2017, Knapp has a career .230/.337/.350 slash line with 27 doubles, 11 home runs, and 51 RBI across 247 games and 668 plate appearances.
If Knapp is non-tendered ahead of the December 2 deadline, that should be a strong sign for Phillies fans that Realmuto could be coming back. Rafael Marchan has impressed and likely would then be the backup.
2. Hector Neris
Earlier this offseason, the Phillies declined a $7 million club option for Hector Neris; therefore, if they do tender him a contract, they will try to re-sign him for less than that figure.
On paper, the seven-year veteran Neris had a disappointing 2020 season. Across 24 appearances and 13 games finished, he blew three save opportunities, yielded 15 runs (11 earned) in 21 2/3 innings, and posted a career-worst 2.08 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Neris is projected to earn as much as $6.4 million in arbitration; given the would-be salary commitment, the Phillies could very well decide to part ways with the Dominican Republic native, or give him a chance to rebound under their new pitching coach.