The Phillies are pretty short on catching depth. Yes, the team re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal, but the other options are pretty light. Erik Kratz hit a few home runs, but barely kept to the Mendoza line in 2013. Cameron Rupp was rushed to the big leagues as a third-string catcher as other options dwindled. One injury to Carlos Ruiz (as happened multiple times in recent history) and the team could be headed for trouble.
Tonight's deadline to tender contracts to players presented a couple backup catcher options that could help the Phillies. The Phillies kept everybody, but other teams made some cuts. One is a former Phillie.
Lou Marson, Non-Tendered By Cleveland Indians
Marson headed to the Indians in the Phillies' trade for Cliff Lee in 2009. Marson was a tick ahead of Carlos Santana back in 2009. But almost thanks to Marson's injury in 2013, Jan Gomes emerged as a catching force in Cleveland to the point that Carlos Santana will not be the Indians catcher in 2014, spending time either as designated hitter or even a third baseman. Thus, they did not want to spend money on Marson.
Marson is familiar to the organization and even some of the current Phillies pitchers. He could be a decent pickup. Marson has never really hit much in the major leagues; his play behind the plate would be what is most appealing to the Phillies.
Mike McKenry, Non-Tendered By the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates picked up catcher Chris Stewart in a trade with the New York Yankees to compliment former Yankees catcher Russell Martin. So, there was no room for Mike McKenry on the Pirates roster. Nicknamed "Fort McKenry" for his defensive abilities behind the plate, McKenry had a very Kratz-like offensive season in 2011 before being injured for much of 2013. McKenry would be a defensive upgrade for the Phillies, but not offensive.
J.P. Arencibia, Non-Tendered By the Toronto Blue Jays
Arencibia is known for hitting a bunch of home runs, but not much else. People speak of Arencibia as poor defensively, too. In fact, the Toronto Blue Jays gave $8 million to Dioner Navarro, owner of three consecutive Mendoza seasons from 2009 through 2011 and considered the move an upgrade. Arencibia is likely to be on a Major League roster because of his home runs, but he probalby will get a shot after someone's starting catcher goes down. I just don't see a fit for the Phillies.
PS - Tommy Joseph is not ready, may end up becoming a first baseman after concussion issues, and Sebastian Valle is such a non-factor in the Phillies system he will likely be released this offseason.