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Phillies Sign Catcher Wil Nieves

Nieves slithers over from the Diamondbacks to replace Kratz, who gobble-gobbles to the Blue Jays to spend more time with his fellow feathered friends.


Continuing the theme of "let's get everything done before the Winter Meetings in sunny Orlando", last night Jon Heyman tweeted this:

Wil Nieves (who's first name is actually Wilbert, which I really love) is indeed a backup catcher type, presumably signed to replace the very recently departed Erik Kratz (*gobble oink*). The terms of the deal aren't yet known.

Nieves turned 36 in December, which I was in no way surprised to find out, as "33 and older" is Ruben Amaro Jr's favorite age. Nieves has played for six teams since his 2002 debut: the Padres, the Yankees, the Nationals, the Brewers, the Rockies, and most recently the Diamondbacks. In 206 plate appearances last season, Nieves hit .297/.320/.369 with eight walks and 32 strikeouts. His power is pretty much invisible to the point of not being there at all -- he hit one home run last year, bringing his career total to eight. So that's not Ben Revere level, but with a career SLG of .314 (and a career ISO of .072), we shouldn't really expect anything. I'm guessing the Phillies think that's fine, since Todd Zolecki wrote last night that Nieves "is known for his defensive capabilities".

Just like all the moves made in the last several days, this is a small one. It won't make or break the Phillies, but it keeps them right where they are. I've always thought that while Amaro knows how to make a big splashy trade or signing, he lacks creativity and vision (even perhaps courage) with the smaller moves. "We do not make small upgrades!" I imagine him yelling to the army of Phillies lego figurines he probably keeps in his office. "Small upgrades get you nowhere! Big moves are most important! Big moves make me the STAR!"