The Phillies are signing catcher Christian Bethancourt to a minor-league deal, according to The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.
Bethancourt, 29, has slashed .222/.252/.316 across parts of five seasons with the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. He has not appeared in an MLB game since 2017, however, when he played eight games for the San Diego Padres.
He signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies in 2020 and appeared in 10 spring training games prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, but never appeared with the team during the season.
The Phillies desperately need catching depth. As of now, Andrew Knapp is the top catcher in the organization and is followed by Rafael Marchan, who is likely to spend 2021 in the minor leagues.
Now, the Phillies have Bethancourt, who serves as organizational depth in case the Phillies miss out on top catchers in free agency. James McCann is already off the board, so if the Phillies fail to re-sign J.T. Realmuto, finding his replacement becomes much more difficult.
Of course, there is still a possibility that the Phillies bring Realmuto back, which would push Knapp to being the backup, a role he has served for parts of the last four seasons. But, for now, Bethancourt serves as necessary depth as for the Phillies as the offseason continues.
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