Free agent catcher Brian Schneider, 34, hit .176/.246/.256 in his second season with the Phillies and served as Vance Worley's personal batterymate. FoxSports tweeted the scoop. [Link]
Beerleaguer: It's unclear whether this is for guaranteed money. Based on a 38 OPS+ and his injury history, it's hard to justify it. Schneider is from the Lehigh Valley and a healthy competition with Erik Kratz, another local product, wouldn't yield the worst consolation prize for the catcher who needs to begin the season with the IronPigs. Considering his lousy season, their geography and the promise of a title, the Phils have all the leverage to draft a minimal offer for Schneider.
On the plus side, his arm is still solid and he's an expert handler, and that's really all the Phillies have shown they want out of this position. Pitchers who paired with Schneider last season pitched to a 2.88 ERA, and Worley credited him for his success on more than one occassion.
Unfortunately, you've got to hit, which is why settling for Schneider is disappointing when you consider the beating Carlos Ruiz has been taking these last few seasons and the decline of the Phillies' offense across the board. He's an injury risk and he doesn't hit, which is why a minor league deal, or nothing, might be the most suitable action.
Nevertheless, is it possible for Schneider to have a bounce-back season, at age 34, and produce something closer to his acceptable 2010 .729 OPS? Sure, it's possible. After all, he might only start 40 games, max, so a handful of big games will get him there.
It's tempting to believe that Kratz, who is on the 40-man roster and posted an .838 OPS and 15 home runs in 408 plate appearances with Lehigh Valley, has worked his way into the picture. But the Phillies' alleged choice to skimp on this position, considering the Jonathan Papelbon signing and the remaining list of needs, is the better read.