Phillies Sign Catcher Eric Fryer, Pitcher Ryan Etsell
The Phillies were active making a couple free agent signings today. The first was to add another catcher into the mix heading into Spring Training. The latter was to add a Philadelphia native who played baseball at the one of the city's most storied (and now closed) high schools.
The Phillies will head into camp with three catchers for two spots. Jorge Alfaro, now out of options, needs to stay with the big league club or the Phillies will lose him. Cameron Rupp and Andrew Knapp have minor league options remaining, should they need to demote one of them. Despite the options, the Phillies have added yet another catcher ot the mix.
According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Phillies have signed catcher Eric Fryer. Fryer will recieve a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Fryer is not by any means a household name; he has appeared in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, and the St. Louis Cardinals before one more tour of duty with the Pirates. However, he has played in the big leagues in each of the last seven seasons.
It is not uncommon for teams to load up on catchers ahead of Spring Training. Often, those catchers will be organizational depth who may end up appearing at the major league level. Think of the likes of Paul Bako, Pete LaForest, Erik Kratz and the like: they are stashed at Triple-A until a catcher is needed and they will be called up.
Almost remarkably, the Phillies have not had to place a catcher on the disabled list in the last two seasons. Carlos Ruiz, Cameron Rupp, Andrew Knapp, A.J. Ellis and Jorge Alfaro have all gone without a disabled list stint. Depth at trriple-A always helps.
According to a source, the Phillies also added pitcher Ryan Etsell on a minor league contract. Etsell is a native of Philadelphia and pitched Northeast Catholic High School prior to its closure in 2010. Etsell then went down to Tampa, Florida, where he pitched for HIllsborough County Community College.
Etsell's father,Jeff Etsell, was drafted by the Houston Astros in the third round of the 1979 draft.
Etsell has not played professionally since 2015, when he went 7-5 with a 4.65 earned run average in the California League with the Inland Empire 66ers.