Indians Winter Meetings GETTING HOT!

The Indians made their first move of the Winter Meetings yesterday, signing catcher Paul Phillips to a minor league deal with an invite to big-league camp. Phillips makes four catchers for the Indians, joining Santana, Marson and Luke Carlin. Carlin and Phillips are likely competing to backup Santana in Cleveland with the loser of that competition backing up Marson in Columbus. While it's possible Marson will be the primary big league backup from day one, it seems far more like that he'll go down to Columbus where he can work every day. 

As for the Indians latest scuffy, musty-smelling holiday bauble, Phillips was drafted out of the University of Alabama by the Kansas City Royals in the 1998 draft. He debuted with the Royals in 2004, playing four games, and then rode the bus from Omaha to Kansas City for the Royals until 2008. That year, he latched on with the White Sox organization, playing only four major league games, and then moved to the Rockies, where he appeared in 19 games between 2009 and 2010. 

Carlin and Phillips are similar players in terms of trajectory, with Carlin four years behind. Carlin will be in his age 30 season in 2010, Phillips his age 34. Phillips was drafted in the 9th round in 1998, Carlin in the 10th in 2002. Both catchers debuted at age 27, Phillips in 2004, Carlin in 2008. Through their first three major league seasons:

Name PAs
OBP
OPS
Carlin 142
.279 658
Phillips
142
.286
553

There's a discrepancy in Phillips career: he did not play baseball in 2001 or 2002 because of, according to his 2005 BP comment, a terrible elbow injury:

Phillips was the Royals' best catching prospect in 2000, but he injured his elbow so badly that he was able to play in a grand total of 13 games over the next three years...The Royals like him a lot, having kept him on the 40-man roster throughout his ordeal, and Phillips has only NRI Alberto Castillo to beat out for the role of backup catcher.

Clearly, the Royals still had hopes for Phillips entering 2005 but his former status as a middling prospect means about as much as Jeremy Sowers' former status as a major league ace

As for your fun facts, Wikipedia says that Phillips is the first cousin of Andy Phillips, who also played at University of Alabama before appearing in 260 major league games, a substantial portion of which were with the New York Yankees. I remember Andy Phillips as a stopgap first basemen for the 2006 Yankees. 

Finally, Carlin and Phillips are both sitting on three big league homeruns, so I'll be thinking of their spring training battles as The Race To Four!

Elsewhere in Cleveland Winter Meetings News:

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