The Phillies have until Friday before salary figures are formally exchanged with their arbitration-eligible players. They have settled one case before that deadline: Catcher Cameron Rupp, whose roster status for 2018 is still unclear, avoided arbitration Wednesday. He signed a $2.05 million deal, according to a source.
All arbitration contracts are for one year and are not fully guaranteed until a player is on the 25-man roster when the season begins. Rupp could be one of the team’s two catchers on opening day. Or he could be with triple-A Lehigh Valley because he has a minor-league option remaining.
It appears Rupp and Andrew Knapp will engage in a competition this spring for one of the catching jobs. The other will go to Jorge Alfaro, who is out of minor-league options.
Rupp, 29, posted a .716 OPS in 331 plate appearances last season. He has a career .705 OPS. He has not rated in favorable terms with advanced defensive metrics, including pitch-framing ones. This was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
Rupp started just eight of the team’s final 29 games last season.
“Carrying three young catchers on the 40-man roster — if that’s what we end up doing — is really no trouble,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said last November. “Two of those players, Rupp and Knapp, have options. Alfaro is the only one who does not. It’s not ideal to option young players who we think are major-leaguers. But the flexibility is there.”
The team must still agree to terms with three other players: second baseman Cesar Hernandez, third baseman Maikel Franco and righthanded reliever Luis Garcia.