The Phillies weren't too concerned about finding any offense from a backup catcher. Paul Bako never provided much and he wasn't even an impressive defensive specimen. So, in signing Brian Schneider, the Phillies believe that they've upgraded behind the plate.
Schneider, who carries a career .251 average, hit just .218 with the Mets last season, but threw out 34% of the baserunners attempting to steal against him [the National League average was just under 29%.]
There are actually two added pluses to signing Schneider: 1. his knowledge of the NL East, and 2. the fact that he grew up about an hour outside of Philadelphia. In fact, Schneider still owns property in Allentown, PA, not far from where he grew up. The 33 year old graduated from Northampton High School.
Schneider's agent, Brodie Von Wagenen, told reporters that Schneider actually had three other clubs that wanted his client to be their starting catcher and a number of other clubs interested in signing him as a backup, besides the Phillies.
"But the opportunity to win for the first time in his career, and to do it so close to where he grew up, turned out to be the deciding factor," stressed Von Wagenen.
The Phillies believe that if needed, Schneider could hit well enough to take over for an extended period of time behind the plate. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. believes that Schneider was the perfect fit for the club and gives them a stable backup for Ruiz. In fact, Schneider isn't much of a drop in production from Paul Bako who backed up Ruiz last season. Bako hit just .224 and threw out 32% of the baserunners who attempted to run against him in his one season with the Phillies.
If anything were to happen to Ruiz or Schneider, the Phillies re-signed Triple-A catcher Paul Hoover, who was with the big league club last September, to a minor league deal. Hoover will likely split time with and mentor Tuffy Gosewisch, who figures to start the year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.