The CourierPost ran an article this morning regarding backup catcher Chris Coste’s status on the Phillies roster. He says that lack of playing time has him worried about his spot on the roster. According to the article, “The Phillies view Coste as a third-string catcher and right-handed pinch-hitter.” In my experience, it’s rare to see a team carry a third-string catcher, so yeah, I think Coste’s worries are legitimate.
This led to Steve (who also gets the hat tip for this link) speculating about a possible trade for Coste. To that I say: not a bad idea. I’m not basing that on .328/.376/.505 line in 198 at bats last season; that’s far too small a sample size. But over his storied minor league career, he holds a .805 OPS. If he can be had for a spare reliever — though that’s not a certainty, given Phillie’s reluctance to deal with the Yankees recently (you want Jason Michaels? Our opening bid is Chien-Ming Wang) — I say go for it. Coste should provide a better bat than the pitcher-esque skills of Todd Pratt and Wil Nieves.
I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of Philly jettisoning this guy. He’s had a solid minor league career and played well once finally called to the majors. And now his backup job — once again, backing up Rod Barajas, who very well may hit worse than Coste — is in jeopardy? Carlos Ruiz (who I blindly assume is the leading backup candidate) is going to be that much better? I just don’t see it.
If Pat Gillick is looking to shed Coste for a middle reliever, Cash should jump on it; he’ll looks to be an upgrade over our backup catchers from years past.
Photo: Kathy Willens/AP