Two things about Chris Coste: First, he can hit; second, he can hit late in the game and under pressure. He proved that last year, hitting .328.
A catcher? No. But the 34 year old Coste did catch a lot of games last year for the Phillies. With Rod Barajas and Carlos Ruiz penciled in at backstop, things don’t look good for Coste. Maybe he could catch for a team that’s desperate like the Phillies were last year. San Diego is rumored to be looking for a catcher. Maybe he’d be good for a club that wants to keep a third catcher just in case, plus a guy who can come off the bench.
Last season it came out that Coste was writing a book about his life in the minor leagues. He may soon be back at Ottawa getting some filler for his book. Or he may need to find a publisher quickly if his baseball career goes ‘belly up,’ as The Donald would say.
Karium Garcia, Greg Dobbs and Michael Bourn are getting most of the playing time in Clearwater. This could mean a couple of things: 1) Charlie knows what Coste can do so he’s finding out about the others. Or 2) Coste no longer has a shot at making the club.
Dobbs is having a killer spring, but spring is different than when things get real in April. Garcia at 32, is a non-roster invitee who played the last two seasons in Japan. But he can switch hit, which gives the Phillies a left-handed replacement for David Dellucci.
Bourn is a fourth round selection in the 2003 draft and just 25. He was honored with the Paul Owens Award as the Phillies best minor league player last year, while splitting time between Reading and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, plus hitting .125 in 17 games with the Phillies.
Bourn is a sure shot to start the season in Ottawa, which leaves Coste, Garcia and Dobbs fighting for two bench jobs. Garcia has an edge because he hits left handed, and if he’s not on the opening day roster, he can ask the Phillies for his release. Coste and Dobbs hit right handed, and Dobbs, 29, has been impressive with his bat in spring training.
The bet here is that Dobbs and Garcia will start the season in Philadelphia, while Coste goes to Ottawa. That way, if Dobbs proves he was a spring training flash, or if Garcia falters, Coste will be packing his bags again.
Either that, or Coste can get ready to start the book signings.