Nick Hundley spent opening day of the 2019 season behind the plate for the Oakland A’s, but four months later, found himself designated for assignment. After looking for work for about two weeks, Hundley and the Phillies agreed to a minor league deal for the remainder of the season.
Hundley has played 12 seasons in the majors, primarily as a backup catcher with San Diego, Baltimore, Colorado and San Francisco prior to joining the A’s during the offseason. In 974 MLB games, Hundley has slashed 93-376-.247/.299/.405. Throughout his career, the 35-year old has been known for his defensive skills more than for what he has produced offensively. He has posted a .991 fielding percentage and has thrown out 26-percent of would-be base stealers. He has been charged with just 56 passed balls in over 7,300 innings as a catcher.
For now, Hundley will be assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies could wait until rosters expand on September 1st to bring him to the majors or could make a preemptive move prior to then, replacing backup catcher Andrew Knapp. The move would be a slight upgrade offensively and represent a larger upgrade defensively compared to what Knapp has done with the Phillies this season, hitting just .191 in 57 games.
The Phillies also have veterans Rob Brantly and Matt McBride at Lehigh Valley, although McBride is currently on the IL. Catching prospect Deivy Grullon is also on the Lehigh Valley roster and will need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft. It’s been thought that the Phillies would likely bring Grullon to the majors in September and have him take over as the backup to J.T. Realmuto.
Brantly was added to the 40-man roster earlier in the season when Realmuto went on paternity leave and played in one game, striking out in his lone at-bat. When Realmuto returned, Brantly was designated for assignment and removed from the 40-man roster.