The Phillies could still add a veteran catcher to pair with Cameron Rupp, but if not they are open to beginning the season with prospect Andrew Knapp getting his first taste of the majors.
Knapp, who turned 25 last month, batted .266 last season at triple-A with a .330 on-base percentage and .390 slugging percentage. It was a challenging year after the blistering 2015 he put together at high-A Clearwater and double-A Reading.
The Phillies ended last season with Rupp, A.J. Ellis, and prospect Jorge Alfaro as their catchers. Alfaro, 23, could use more seasoning on his defense and game calling, which he will get at triple A under new manager Dusty Wathan. Ellis is a free agent and may return after he worked well with the team's young pitching staff.
If not, it could be time for Knapp.
"I don't think we need a veteran backup catcher. If it works out we're open minded to that," general manager Matt Klentak said. "But Andrew Knapp just finished age 25 season in Triple-A. He has a full year of at-bats in Triple-A. At some point for both he and Alfaro we're going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big league level. During 2017 we'll have to find out – not just about those two guys – but others."
Having Knapp in the majors would also give the Phillies a lefthanded option at first base to pair with Tommy Joseph. Knapp spent some at first base during spring training and at triple A. His promotion would also carve a full-time role at triple A for Alfaro. Knapp would also give the Phillies a switch-hitting bench option for a team that is desperate for bench help.