Phils Add Depth Behind Dish With Deadline Deal

PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies have enjoyed a career year from Carlos Ruiz this season, but they know the 33-year-old catcher won't last forever.

They will almost certainly pick up his $5 million option for 2013, but the club's activity at the trade deadline indicates it has already started thinking about life after Ruiz.

Philadelphia added to its catching depth when it acquired 21-year-old Tommy Joseph from the Giants in a three-player return for Hunter Pence.

A second-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2009, Joseph doubled and threw out a basestealer in this year's Futures Game. He batted .260/.313/.391 with eight homers in 304 at-bats with Double-A Richmond.

"We like his bat a lot," assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "You always like adding guys who play a premium position because it increases your odds of hitting on one of them."

Joseph joins 22-year-old Sebastian Valle at the top of the minor league catching depth chart. Valle hit .261/.280/.435 with 13 homers in 310 at-bats for Double-A Reading prior to Joseph's acquisition, which triggered a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for Valle.

"We didn't want either to be a part-time guy," Looper said. "It was a coin toss. We know what we have in Sebastian, so we moved him up. Tommy's in a new organization, (so) we wanted to give him a chance to get his feet on the ground and see what we've got.

"They're similar guys. Both are offensive-type catchers who are improving defensively. There's so much to work on back there, from putting down fingers to knowing when to go to the mound, but the bat stands out in both cases."

Joseph threw out 19 of 40 basestealers at Richmond, with at least average arm strength. When he visited Reading in July for the Eastern League all-star game, Richmond coach Ross Grimsley raved about him.

"I like everything about him," Grimsley said. "He's older than his years. His confidence is pretty impressive. He has a lot of input in our meetings to go over the opposing hitters. He can block and throw and will be an outstanding major league catcher."

The Phillies catching depth goes beyond Valle and Joseph. Team officials were pleased with the progress that 2010 third-rounder Cameron Rupp had made in all phases of the game with high Class A Clearwater. According to Looper, Rupp has benefited from the tutelage of Clearwater batting coach John Mizerock, a former big league catcher.


• In addition to Valle, the Phillies also promoted righthander Jon Pettibone and second baseman Cesar Hernandez from Reading to Lehigh Valley in late July.

• Left fielder and former top prospect Domonic Brown got the call from Lehigh Valley on July 31, the day Philadelphia dealt two-thirds of its starting outfield in Pence and Shane Victorino. Brown batted .362/.412/.489 (17-for-47) with a homer and three doubles in 13 games prior to the callup.