The Phils are the first team in baseball to 60 wins. They’re rolling. One more against the Dodgers, then three against Oakland to complete the first half of the schedule. Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper are back.

J.T. Realmuto is not, therefore we’ve seen a Garrett Stubbs/Rafael Marchan combo job behind the plate since the BCIB last played on June 9th.

That’s created a discussion on which guy is actually better. Does Marchan go back down when Realmuto returns? Does Topper roll with Stubbs behind J.T.? Or does Marchan stay in the big leagues? Of all the opinions out there, and there are many, I think I’d agree most with what Luke says:

The biggest thing that we all need to realize and accept is that neither Marchan nor Stubbs will play a single postseason minute.

If Realmuto is healthy, he’s catching every game, which is what happened in 2022 and 2023. J.T. played all 13 games last year and all 17 games the year prior. Starting catchers don’t get off days in the playoffs, so if everything goes according to plan, this isn’t even going to be a question in October and, hopefully, November.

Now, if you’re arguing about who gives the Phillies the best chance to win right now, with J.T. on the shelf, that’s fine. That should be the focus. Here’s what each guy has done since Realmuto went down:

  • Stubbs: 11-48, 4 RBI, two walks, two stolen bases, one extra-base hit, 8-6 record in games he starts
  • Marchan: 15-48, 6 RBI, two walks, four extra-base hits, 7-7 record in games he starts

Marchan’s offensive numbers are slightly better. Not a massive difference though. As for runners, Stubbs has thrown out 3 on 8 steal attempts while Marchan is 4 for 12. Same thing there. It’s somewhat negligible. Neither guy is going to be the second coming of Pudge Rodriguez.

One of the things that tilts the discussion is that Marchan will rip off these multi-hit games every so often. He went 3-3 on Tuesday night, for instance. So he flashes in spurts and perhaps people see that and react, which is the genesis for most of the “Stubbs stinks, start Marchan” tweets. On the other hand, Stubbs only has one multi-hit game during this stretch, and he was more or less getting one hit a night in that run of 10 hits over 11 games. There’s been more variance from game to game for each guy, but Marchan pops more often, and catches fans’ attention.

As for the stuff about vibes and locker room culture, that’s impossible to qualify. Only the guys in the clubhouse know whether Stubbs’ presence is something tangible and meaningful. There is no way for us determine that. Same thing with the comments about the Diamondbacks’ pool. There are some fans who are mad about that and other fans who found those comments to be a nothing burger, like they don’t believe in jinxes or thought the quotes were blown out of proportion. And as for who frames their pitches better or works better with the pitching staff, that’s another nebulous concept. You’d have to ask Wheeler, Nola, Ranger, etc if there’s truly a preference for which guy they want behind the plate. Both catchers are defensively capable enough, another reminder that they’re backups and not All Stars.

Keep in mind, Marchan is 25 and Stubbs 31. Garrett is on a one-year deal worth $850,000, so as Luke mentions above, they can let him walk at the end of the year and pull Marchan up permanently. The other option is using Marchan as an asset at the trade deadline, and perhaps flipping him for another playoff arm or including him in a larger deal to land an impact player. That might be more feasible if you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to part with the top prospects in the system.