The Phillies dodged a bullet. Today they found out that catcher Carlos Ruiz’s wrist isn’t structurally damaged and he’ll be back in action in a week.
Good thing, because after Ruiz the Phillies have zero catching depth.
And that’s really amazing, because when the season started the organization had a slew of catchers.
Here’s what happened:
Over the winter the Phils traded minor league catcher Jason Jaramillo, an above-average defender who couldn’t hit, for Ronny Paulino, a good hitting catcher with a reputation for dickishness.
Then the Phillies traded Paulino for lefty reliever Jack Taschner, who has bounced between the big club and triple-A this season. With the Phils he’s given up 36 hits in 28 innings. Paulino, meanwhile, ended up with the Marlins where he played 75 games and hit .278/.344/.435. Fangraphs says he’s been worth $7.7MM this season.
The Phils entered 2009 with Ruiz the starter, Chris Coste the backup, and prospect Lou Marson waiting in the wings at triple-A. Then the Phils traded Marson in the Cliff Lee deal, and they were down to only two guys with major league skills — Ruiz and Coste.
So the Phils picked up Paul Bako, a career backup with a good reputation as a receiver and absolutely no clue when it comes to hitting a baseball. Look up “replacement level catcher” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Bako.
And then they put Coste on waivers to make room for Raul Ibanez, who was coming off a month-long DL stint, and the Astros claimed Coste (damn you, Ed Wade!).
And just like that they were down to two catchers, and one of them was Bako. And he sucks.
This week the Phils came dangerously close to losing Ruiz and entering the postseason with Bako as their starting catcher and minor league journeyman Paul Hoover the backup.
Next season, maybe Philadelphia should bring back the mustache, just in case?