Phillies: 4 catcher options if J.T. Realmuto signs elsewhere
Four Phillies starting catcher options in 2021, if J.T. Realmuto does not return.
The catching market is becoming razor thin — with James McCann and Mike Zunino off the table, signing deals with the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively. J.T. Realmuto remains available, but continues to draw attention from teams other than just the Philadelphia Phillies. On Saturday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Washington Nationals have interest in the free agent.
Veterans and journeyman represent most of the market, including a future Hall of Famer and a former Phillies backstop from a couple of years ago. We have seen in the past that when given another chance, some experienced players have a resurgence in the late stages of the career — although the catching position is far less physically forgiving than others.
As Realmuto’s free agency lingers on, the Phillies still have not solidified their starting catcher for the 2021 season. Here are four likely options they will fall back on if the perennial All-Star signs elsewhere.
4. Andrew Knapp
Andrew Knapp is the most likely in-house option, given the Phillies recently re-signed him on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. This is not exactly the most ideal or reassuring statement.
So far, we have seen decent receiving and throwing skills from Knapp, but he would be a significant drop-off from Realmuto in the defensive aspect.
Offensively, Knapp looked more like the player the Phillies saw coming through the minors, hitting .273 over stints in 33 games. Pinch hitting hurts the average, so we could expect Knapp to continue his growth on the offensive side.
We haven’t seen Knapp’s production in a starting role, but at his ceiling, Knapp could go for 15 homers, and probably hit in the .250 range; or, he could revert to being a liability at the dish. I’d see him as a fallback option, but not necessarily a desperation move.