Phillies avoid arbitration with catcher Andrew Knapp
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies have signed catcher Andrew Knapp to a 1-year deal.
The Philadelphia Phillies will bring back at least one of their catchers from the 2020 season. On Wednesday, they and catcher Andrew Knapp agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, according to the USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Knapp is the second eligible Phillies player this offseason to avoid arbitration, joining right-handed reliever Seranthony Dominguez. Both of their agreements come ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to either non-tender or offer arbitration-eligible players a non-guaranteed contract for the 2021 season — where the two sides would potentially then head to a hearing in February if a deal is not reached beforehand.
It is not yet known what the Phillies will do with their five other players eligible for salary arbitration: Zach Eflin, David Hale, Rhys Hoskins, Hector Neris, and Vince Velasquez.
Arbitration-eligible players who are not extended at least a non-guaranteed offer are deemed “non-tendered” and immediately become free agents; the Phillies did this last offseason with infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco.
By avoiding arbitration with Knapp, the catcher is on a guaranteed deal for the 2021 season; he was projected to earn in arbitration around the same amount he received from the Phillies on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old had a career-best season in 2020, his fourth in the majors. Spanning 33 games and 89 plate appearances as the back-up to J.T. Realmuto, he slashed .278/.404/.444 with seven extra-base hits, 15 RBI, 15 walks, and just 19 strikeouts.
Behind the plate, Knapp committed only two errors across 233 chances and 183 innings. He also fielded four perfect innings at first base.
It will be interesting to see what role Knapp will have on the big-league roster in 2021. This will largely be dependent on whether Realmuto or another veteran catcher is signed to be the starter. If not, Knapp very well could be a full-time starting catcher for the first time in his big-league career.