With CHOOCH coming back tomorrow afternoon, the Phillies will have to clear some space on the roster. Within the next 14 or so hours, the Phillies will decide between the following options to open up Chooch’s spot:
Option A:Keep Erik Kratz on the 25-man active roster, try to clear Humberto Quintero through waivers while keeping him on the 40-man roster and outright either Tyler Cloyd (7.65 ERA in 20 IP, 1.95 WHIP) or Michael Stutes (6.94 ERA in 11.2 IP, 1.71 WHIP)
Option B: Keep Kratz on the 25-man active roster, outright Quintero off of the 40-man roster and hope/don’t mind if he clears waivers
Option C: Use Kratz’s last option year, shuttle him to Allentown, keep Quintero on the 25-man active roster, and outright either Cloyd or Stutes
The easiest option seems to be option B: Keep Kratz and don’t mind if someone picks Quintero up because the Phillies already have two catchers in Lehigh Valley. But has Quintero, who is hitting .250/.286/.356, earned a shot to stay?
First, let’s look at Option A. The Phillies will need to clear an additional roster spot at some point soon with Delmon Young readying himself for action. The obvious, at least to me, odd man is Tyler Cloyd. And with Adam Morgan (2.55 ERA, 1.05 WHIP in 24.2 IP) performing well for the ‘Pigs, Jonathan Pettibone holding his own in the Majors, and Jesse Biddle dominating in Double-A, Cloyd is suddenly very expendable. Stutes has struggled early with command and is really struggling to not walk opposing hitters. With Justin De Fratus (0.82 ERA, 9 Ks in 11 IP) and Joe Savery (1.04 ERA, 0.58 WHIP) pitching well on the 40-man and many others pitching serviceable, Stutes is honestly running out of time. What does this mean? Option C is not only possible but plausible. The Phillies will need two 40-man roster spaces in the next 10-14 days and there are two guys who are expendable.
There are downsides to Option A and, in turn, Option C: You have a third catcher in Lehigh Valley when the goal is to get Tommy Joseph as much playing time as he can handle to find out if he can be a Major League catcher. Joseph had six passed balls in his first six games with Lehigh Valley and is only hitting .180/.226/.380 but does have 3 HR. He has some work to do and it is showing – he’ll need to play every day to work through it. Even though there are players who are expendable off of the 40-man, it doesn’t mean the Phillies should go down that path, especially because adding a third catcher to a suddenly catcher-heavy organization would create a catcher log-jam.
By a short process of elimination, then, it seems like Option B is the best option: hang on to Kratz and actually kind of hope Quintero does get snagged by a team like the Yankees who need a catcher and have Steven Lerud available like in 2012 if an emergency occurs, who is a very defensively sound catcher. But Ian, you say: isn’t Quintero doing better than Kratz?
For his career, Quintero has been a better hitter than Kratz in batting average only. Kratz has a career ISO of .181 compared to Quintero’s .090 mark, with a triple-slash line of .217/.266/.398 v. .235/.268/.325. Using UZR, which admittedly isn’t the best defensive catching metric but is the most convenient, Quintero scores higher than Kratz, but Kratz’s has actually saved runs over his career. Kratz nailed 15 of 33 runners last year for a caught stealing percentage of .455 which ranked third in MLB for catchers that had 15 runners or more attempt to steal. This year, Kratz has thrown out four of 12.
Kratz’s bat can be a threat off of the bench and what you lose in his defense is made up by his strong arm and ability to hit for power. I do not think there is a case to keep Humberto Quintero on this team – in fact, I think the Phillies will hope that the Yankees will pick him up.