Ron Costello

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Catchers in Phillies System Nonexistant

Besides needing a total outfield makeover and a rotation resurrection, have you looked at the Phillies' catching lately?

It looks like Carlos Ruiz, "Chooch," is out of gas. Either age, 36, or the stimulants had more to do with his production than realized. Or both.

The other catcher, Cameron Rupp, your typical 'big hoss' major league backstop — hits a little and is not bad defensively — but not one you build a team around. Or a rotation.

Tommy Joseph, acquired in the Hunter Pence deal — what a swell deal that was — had his bell rung too many times — concussions —  and is now working out at first base, where he'll get in line. It looks like he's out of the catching picture.

The forecast behind the plate is not good for the Phillies.

Papelbon's been saying Junior needs to "do you know what...or get off the pot." It's an old expression — back when toilets were invented — meaning it's about time to do something.


Exactly what the faithful's been screaming since spring training started — in 2014. Pap just simplified it, is all.

Perhaps if Junior does get off the pot, maybe he'll find a catching prospect. Junior wanted Boston's Blake Swihart, but apparently, Hamels and Papelbon aren't enough to land the top rated catching prospect in the big leagues.

What do they say, a champaigne taste and a beer pocketbook?

But Philly Dawn did some research and spotted a catcher in the Yankees' system named Gary Sanchez. Scouts say Sanchez has a rocket arm and raw power, but his catching skills need work. The Yankees signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million. He's young, 22, and has a slight problem.

The Yankees' catcher Brian McCann.

The Yankees signed McCann to a five year, $85 million deal through 2018, with a club option for '19.

There's no room at the inn for Sanchez. And it seems the Yankees have kept Sanchez at the farm too long already — they need to move him. He's at double A and doing well.

So here's the question. The Yankees, with a three and a half game lead in the AL East, need rotation help — Hamels — and closer help — Papelbon. If Hamels is traded to Houston, as I predicted, could Papelbon get a prospect like Sanchez?

Or, if Hamels doesn't go to  Houston, could a combination of Hamels and Papelbon get Sanchez and two more prospects — somebody say outfielders, please — from the Yankees?

Here's the answer. If the Yankees are serious about a second half run — which, they've got to be, the division is wide open — a seasoned, well established professional closer, who's pitched under pressure down the stretch, is priceless. Especially for a catcher the Yankees don't need.

We'd be doing them a favor taking Sanchez, am I right?

I think substitute president and chief observer Any MacPhail needs an assistant.

What do you mean, who?
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