It appears Drew Hutchison’s breakout spring has landed him a spot on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster. The news, however, was not so good this morning for catcher Cameron Rupp. The team’s Opening Day catcher of a year ago has been designated for assignment.
#Phillies have selected the contract of RHP Drew Hutchison.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Cameron Rupp was designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/UEPS4oSMs2
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 25, 2018
The 29-year-old struggled last season, hitting only .217 with 14 homers and 34 RBI in 331 plate appearances. He hit .234 over parts of five seasons. His best year came in 2016, the only time he’s appeared in over 100 games in a season, when he hit .252 with 16 homers and posted a .750 OPS.
The move means that Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp will assume the team’s catching duties to start the season.
Rupp, by all accounts, is a great guy and does provide some pop at the position, but he was a poor defender and his career sub .300 OBP is a tough sell for a team that has clearly prioritizes a player’s ability to consistently reach base.
It is possible that Rupp clears waivers, but with a lack of quality catching options around the league, it would be surprising if he isn’t claimed and finds his way onto another Major League roster. The Texas Rangers, a team rumored to be looking for a back up catcher, could be a good spot for the native Texan.
As for Hutchison, the 27-year-old emerged from seemingly nowhere this spring. He didn’t appear in a Major League game last season, last pitching for Pittsburgh and Torotno in 2016 when he posted a forgettable 5.25 ERA. Still, he posted a 2.75 ERA in just over 19 innings this spring. He struck out 17 with a 1.02 WHIP. He earned the spot. With the team seeking starting pitching solutions due to the injuries to Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter Jr., along with the brief delay of Jake Arrieta’s debut, Hutchison could start a game for the Phillies, or be used as a long man.