Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/18/11

The re-signing of Brian Schneider wasn’t the “sexiest” move the Phillies could have made. It really just maintains the status quo at the backup catcher position.

In an unappealing market, though, maintaining the status quo with a one-year, $800,000 comfortable option is the way to go.

Here are a few reasons why:

Bringing back Brian Schneider wasn't particularly expected, but it makes sense.

FINANCES and FITS
It prevented the Phillies from overspending for a backup catcher.

Unless you’re a huge fan of Josh Bard, Jake Fox, Rob Johnson, Jason Kendall, Dioner Navarro, Kelly Shoppach, Chris Snyder or J.R. Towles, you weren’t going to be excited about this hole-filler.

After Schneider, there were two semi-appealing options, but both came with a downside.

There was Ryan Doumit, a catcher/first baseman/corner outfielder who hits well for the position but is a liability behind the plate. He also gets hurt a lot. Ankle problems limited him to 236 plate appearances in 2011.

Doumit was never realistic… the Phillies have leaned more so toward defense than offense from the backup backstop in recent years and Doumit isn’t exactly a guy you’d feel comfortable starting behind the plate five or six days a week should Carlos Ruiz visit the DL.

Doumit was also going to cost a lot. The former Pirate is seeking a one-year deal to reestablish himself for the next contract, and he already turned down a one-year, $3 million offer from the Dodgers.

Spending more than three million on a backup catcher would have been a questionable allocation of resources for the Phils, who will already be spending about $155 million on 21 players after arbitration cases take place. If you assume $175 million is the limit, a deal for Doumit would have cut sharply into the team’s plans to perhaps re-sign Jimmy Rollins or add an outfield bat.

The only other mildly intriguing option was Ivan Rodriguez, who turns 40 in two weeks and would have cost double what Schneider did. Pudge is a shell of his former offensive self, but nobody can question his defense and decision-making behind the plate.

The question really becomes: Would you rather have had Schneider at $800,000 or Pudge at $1.5-to-1.7 million? Since Rodriguez has generated some interest around the league, he could have waited out a Phillies offer or played hardball for a few extra bucks. It’s easy to see why Amaro chose to get something done quickly with Schneider rather than talk much if at all with Rodriguez’s reps.

FAMILIARITY
Re-signing Schneider also keeps intact the rapport between Schneider and young pitchers Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick.

While the Phillies’ record with Schneider in the lineup may have been a bit overplayed – would they really have been worse if Carlos Ruiz caught Worley or Kendrick in those games, or even Erik Kratz? – all that matters is the pitchers’ comfort and the team’s perception. The statistical community might not believe in catcher’s ERA, but there is a disconnect between what the analysts agree with and how teams act.

FOCUS
There are certainly bigger fish to fry this offseason – re-signing Rollins, feeling out the market for a bat, figuring out the futures of Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino – so filling the hole at backup catcher early was certainly beneficial to the Phillies.

By completing this minor deal in mid-November, Ruben Amaro has eliminated one errand from his “To Do” list. And we all know how gratifying it can be to draw a line through an item, no matter how far down it may be.

Corey Seidman is co-editor of Phillies Nation, co-founder of Brotherly Glove and writes for CSNPhilly.com’s Phillies Talk.
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