The Arizona Diamondbacks recently agreed to terms with free agent catcher Caleb Joseph. Curiously, they gave the former Oriole a major league deal.
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Caleb Joseph to a major league contract, reports the Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (via Twitter). Joseph becomes the fourth catcher with a guaranteed major league deal on the 40-man roster, joining Alex Avila, Carson Kelly and John Ryan Murphy.
Joseph was recently DFA’ed by the Baltimore Orioles, which in and of itself is not a good sign, but take it with a grain of salt as well: after all, the surest way to spot potential breakout candidates recently is has been to review lists of former Orioles.
Besides, catchers often come on later in their careers, more so than any other offensive position, at least to the point of utility is not stardom (Erik Kratz and Damien Miller come to mind). At 32-years-old, Joseph might just be primed for a breakout. Admittedly, that’s about 500% more optimistic than anyone should be about Joseph, but he’s still worth taking a flyer on.
The trouble is, the Diamondbacks took a little more than a flyer on him. Not a whole lot more, mind you, but a little more. If he makes the major league club, he’ll come away with $1.1MM for the year.
His chances at making the major league roster can be looked at a couple different ways. He’s unlikely to step past Kelly or Avila in the line for the start of the season, but the Diamondbacks have often carried three catchers, and it would be very bizarre to see only two catchers see time at the big league level. Chances are good that a third, if not a fourth backstop will get some roster time.
Of course, the Diamondbacks already have a fourth catcher with a major league contract in Murphy, who is slated to make $900K this season. Financially, that puts Murphy right about on par with Joseph, given that Joseph only makes $250K if on the minor league roster. Murphy is the younger of the two by about five years, but again, for a catcher, I’m not sure we care.
Offensively, the two are remarkably similar. Joseph owns a career slash line of .224/.271/.353 across five seasons with the Orioles. Murphy counters as a career .224/.267/.351 hitter. What we have then, isn’t so much a competition as it is this.
Double fresh, double smooth Caleb Joseph. The Diamondbacks liked the John Ryan Murphy experience so much, they went out and got themselves another. This one just wears the name Joseph on the back of his jersey. Frankly, I doubt many of us could tell the difference anyway.
The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to make incremental improvements to their 40-man roster, this one doubling the insurance policy already in place. By bringing in Caleb Joseph, the Dbacks have no shortage of viable backstops at the ready, even if he does duplicate John Ryan Murphy. Double your flavor, double your fun. There’s a strategy!