Soon after trading backup catcher Erik Kratz to the Blue Jays, the Philadelphia Phillies quickly solved their backup catching “hole” by making an interesting acqusition.
Wil Nieves is headed to the phillies. solid backup catcher type.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 4, 2013
Wil Nieves joins the Phillies as the back-up to the newly extended Carlos Ruiz, and while the terms have yet to be disclosed, his contract is believed to be for 1-year at modest money. Nieves is a 36-year-old journeyman who has over 1,100 plate appearances in the big leagues, but he has had to make that dent with 6 different teams.
For his career, Nieves has a modest slash line of .242/.283/.314 with 8 home runs in 385 games, and that won’t inspire a great deal of fanfare for his arrival. However, his batting average his spiked in a positive way over the last 2 seasons (.301 and .297, respectively), and that surely made an impact for the more “traditional” front office in Philadelphia.
Defensively, Nieves has been a net positive for his career, and that is pretty much all you need from a backup catcher behind a presumed stud like Ruiz. If he hits at all, it’ll be a bonus for the Phillies, but they’ve clearly chosen to go the “cheap veteran” route for this roster spot.