Outgoing veteran Brian Schneider will join a deep pool of free agent backup catchers after hitting .176 in his second season with the Phils. It's one Beerleaguers can anticipate an upgrade.
The lure of handling a championship-caliber pitching staff could make Philadelphia a sought-after destination for many backstops getting long in the tooth, which is good news for a Phillies team in need of catching depth and a little added umph off the bench. On Monday, we reported that standby catcher Dane Sardinha, who started 12 games this season, elected free agency, this after Lehigh Valley teammate Erik Kratz nabbed the September third catcher gig, drama that only Beerleaguer cares about. Kratz, who will turn 32 this season, remains on the 40-man roster, which is soon to include only himself and Carlos Ruiz once Schneider hits free agency, where he will join a fairly deep field of qualified back-up catcher candidates, names like Jose Molina, Jason Varitek, Rod Barajas and Chris Snyder. MLBTradeRumors outlines a whole list of possibilities, including non-tender trade candidates and 15 or so free agents ready to slip into a back-up role depending on the situation ... and Philadelphia is a good one.
Backup catcher remains among the most needlessly scrutinized positions on Beerleaguer, but the Phillies haven’t done themselves many favors at the position over the years, Schneider being the latest failure. Among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, Schneider, who hit just .176/.246/.256, rated second to last in baseball in WAR (-0.9), behind only non-tender candidate Jeff Mathis of the Angels.
Compare that to someone like Snyder, for example, who hit .271/.376/.396 (.772 OPS), or Molina, who posted a .281/.342/.415 with Toronto and would be a great fit to handle the Phillies’ staff of aces, perhaps opposite brother Yadier in a 2012 postseason rematch.