Knapp will head back to his typical backup catcher role this upcoming season, as Craig Mish of SportsGrid.com reports the Phillies signed J.T. Realmuto to a five-year, $115.5 million deal Tuesday. Realmuto became a free agent after declining a qualifying offer in November, leaving Knapp potentially lined up to enter the season as a starter. He'll now revert to the backup role which probably suits him best, as his .230/.337/.350 career slash line isn't exactly starter material given his mediocre glove. The Phillies' hitter-friendly home park and Knapp's encouraging .278/.404/.444 line in a small sample of 89 plate appearances do make him an interesting option should Realmuto miss time at any point this season, but Realmuto has always handled a heavy workload when healthy, so there's little sense picking up Knapp unless that happens.
Knapp signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Phillies on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. There has been a lot of talk about the Phillies being unwilling to pay up to retain J.T. Realmuto in free agency, so as things stand, Knapp has a solid chance to be the team's starting catcher in 2021. He hit .278/.404/.444 with two home runs in 89 plate appearances last season. Those numbers figure to dip substantially over a larger sample, but with a career walk rate of 13.2 percent and an improved strikeout rate of 21.3 percent last season, there's a chance he could be underrated in redraft leagues.
Knapp will start at catcher and will bat eighth Wednesday against the Nationals. No. 1 catcher J.T. Realmuto is in the lineup for the second day in a row, but he'll be playing first base while he remains less than 100 percent physically due to a hip injury. Realmuto could end up seeing the bulk of his playing time at first base or designated hitter for the rest of the regular season, which would pave the way for Knapp to hold down the fort as Philadelphia's primary backstop. Over his last 10 games, Knapp has gone 6-for-26 with six walks, six RBI and three runs.
Knapp is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Blue Jays. Rafael Marchan will step in behind the dish to replace Knapp, who has served as the Phillies' primary catcher for the past week while J.T. Realmuto has dealt with a hip injury. Realmuto appears on track to rejoin the Philadelphia lineup as soon as Monday's game against the Nationals, so both Knapp and Marchan look set to see their opportunities decline during the final week of the regular season.
Knapp isn't starting Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the Blue Jays. Knapp went 1-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and one strikeout during the first game of Friday's twin bill, and he'll retreat to the bench for Game 2. Rafael Marchan will take over behind the dish for the nightcap.