Phillies manager Joe Girardi is new to the Phillies and is reunited with his former bench coach, Rob Thomson. The Phillies were linked to free agent and former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius. But as the offseason moves forward, the Phillies are linked to two more ex-Yankees that Girardi and Thomson are familiar with.
According to George A. King, III of the New York Post, the Phillies are interested in catcher Austin Romine and reliever Dellin Betances:
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Phillies have an interest in the right-handed reliever and the catcher as the free-agent market is expected to gain more traction heading into the Winter Meetings that open next Sunday in San Diego.
The Winter Meetings are held December 8 through 12.
Romine would serve as a backup catcher to J.T. Realmuto. Girardi did mention that he hoped to keep Realmuto fresh for a postseason run and having the veteran Romine might give them some options. Austin Romine's brother, Andrew Romine, spent 2019 Spring Training with the Phillies and played in the organization at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They are the son of Kevin Romine, the former Boston Red Sox player.
That would mean the Phillies could carry Andrew Knapp as a third catcher or stash him at Triple-A. The Phillies also have Deivy Grullon on their 40-man roster. Grullon tied Alec Bohm in the Phillies minor league system for the lead in home runs. With a 26th player on the active roster in 2020, the Phillies could use Knapp at other positions beyond catcher.
Betances made just one appearance last season. Coming off of an elbow injury, Betances returned for a single game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He struck out both players he faced, but injured his Achilles. The signing would represent somewhat of a risk for the Phillies, who could use some reliable relief help in the wake of injuries to David Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez.
Robertson is out for 2020 and Dominguez's status remains somewhat uncertain.