Phillies News: Knapp is Backup Catcher, Quinn Optioned
The Phillies head into the 2017 season with Cameron Rupp as their starting catcher. Heading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley is promising prospect Jorge Alfaro, where he will play every day. The Phillies added Andrew Knapp to the 40-man roster this offseason and gave him Spring Training to compete with veteran non-roster catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday for the backup catcher role. The Phillies have chosen their starting catcher.
Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com reports that Hanigan and Holiday have left Phillies camp and that Knapp has been chosen as the backup catcher. Knapp struggled at the plate in early Grapefruit League action. But after going 5 for 13 in his most recent games, Knapp appears to have shaken off any audition jitters he may have had and shown he belongs.
Going for Knapp was his inclusion on the 40-man roster. Had the Phillies added Hanigan or Holaday, the Phillies would have had to cut a player. The Phillies have many promising prospects on the roster that they do not wish to lose. The Phillies likely need to cut at least one player to make room for a bench bat. Playing roughly once a week, a backup catcher is a low-risk position to let a younger player hold.
Lawrence also reports that Roman Quinn and Michael Mariot have headed over to minor league camp.
A member of the 40-man roster, Quinn will head to Triple-A to be the starting center fielder for the IronPigs. The Phillies could have kept Quinn as an extra player, but playing every day would benefit Quinn much more. Injuries have kept Quinn off the field, so showing a healthy stretch in center field will benefit Quinn down the line. Quinn batted .289 this Spring.
Mariot was outrighted off of the Phillies 40-man roster this offseason. After clearing waivers, the Phillies retained Mariot. Mariot had a 4.15 earned run average this Spring in nine appearances and 8 2/3 innings.