The Phillies announced Friday that they have acquired catcher Garrett Stubbs from the Astros in exchange for minor league outfielder Logan Cerny. Stubbs becomes the second backup catching option acquired by the Phils tonight, who also added minor league backstop Donny Sands in a trade with the Yankees.
Stubbs, 28, has spent parts of three seasons in the Majors with the ’Stros, hitting at a combined .182/.238/.247 clip — albeit through a tiny sample of 87 plate appearances. It’s obviously not an impressive line, but Stubbs has a far better track record in Triple-A, where he hit .265/.418/.363 this season and carries a career-long line of .272/.369/.404 in parts of four seasons.
The Phils obviously don’t have a need for a starting catcher, not with J.T. Realmuto entering the second season of a five-year contract, but Stubbs will join Sands as a backup option. The former eighth-rounder has a strong defensive reputation, having posted a massive 41% caught-stealing rate in his pro career and strong framing rates (via Baseball Prospectus) throughout his minor league tenure. Stubbs also has a minor league option remaining, giving the Phils some flexibility if they choose to acquire a more established backup option to Realmuto. That said, Stubbs seems plenty capable of filling a backup role — he just hasn’t had the opportunity in recent seasons with the Astros leaning heavily on Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro.
As was the case in the Phillies’ trade with the Yankees, they tapped into their recent draft class to add some depth options rather than dealing more experienced farmhands from a thin minor league system. It’s not a bad strategy in moderation, particularly given that all of the players acquired in today’s pair of deals — Stubbs, Sands and righty Nick Nelson — can both be immediate depth options and be controlled for several years.
Cerny, 22, obviously isn’t one of the Phils’ top prospects given his status as a recent 10th-round pick, but he turned in a .291/.377/.529 in three seasons at Troy University. He hit .200/.349/.286 in 43 pro plate appearances following the draft.