With the exception of the final game of the season, when Lou Marson caught Kyle Kendrick, Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz handled all of the duties behind the plate for the Phillies in 2008. For the five Phillies pitchers that made the most starts in ’08, here’s the percentage of their batters caught by each of the catchers and the numbers opposing hitters put up with each of them behind the plate:
And here are the numbers for Coste:
You don’t want to compare the total lines — the .737 OPS with Ruiz behind the plate to the .802 OPS with Coste behind the plate. Each of the catchers did not catch the starters the same amount of the time. It is, for example, a big advantage to get to catch 79% of the batters Hamels faced.
Hamels, Moyer and Eaton all fared better pitching to Ruiz than they did to Coste. Kendrick had better luck pitching to Coste and Myers was much better pitching to Coste. Ruiz was behind the plate for Hamels nearly all of the time and Myers threw almost exclusively to Coste, but for the other three starters the catching was divided up more evenly.
A word about Adam Eaton. I think there’s not much chance you’re going to see Eaton pitch for the Phillies again. If he does, though, let’s hope it’s to Ruiz and not to Coste. If there’s a glimmer of hope for Eaton it’s got to be that his problem is not that he can’t pitch, it’s that he can’t pitch to Chris Coste. Eaton’s numbers for the season in 2008 were terrible (again), but the (267/332/411 (.743 OPS)) line that opponents posted against him when he wasn’t pitching to Chris Coste was far more encouraging. That line, for example, is very similar to the 263/337/409 (.746 OPS) that opponents hit against Randy Wolf and slightly less similar to the 287/328/410 (.739 OPS) put up against Aaron Cook.
The rumor of the day from the winter meetings has the Phils in a multi-team deal that winds up with them giving up JA Happ and Chris Coste and getting Mark DeRosa. I’m not going to be surprised if the Phillies trade Coste, but I will be a bit more surprised if they trade Happ. What to do with DeRosa after Utley returns is the big question in the deal for me. He’s had two nice seasons with the bat in a row, but I wouldn’t feel good about counting on him to see a lot of time in left field. The Phillies do need to add two right-handed bats — I would be thrilled if DeRosa was the second-best right-handed bat they add. Not so much if he was the best.
This suggests that Jamie Moyer wants two years, $18 million and that the Phillies have offered two years, $14 million.
This suggests the Phils are unlikely to bring back Tad Iguchi.
This suggests Mark Teixeira may sign with Boston. It has been suggested that the Angels may be interested in Burrell to play first base if they lose Teixeira.