"I think that Kratz has proved that he has value as a backup catcher - at least - in the big leagues," Manuel said. "He's strong, he's durable, he definitely showed he can call the game, he definitely showed that he can throw. He's shown he can hit a home run. I look at him and I say, we got better if Kratz becomes our backup catcher."
Last offseason, the Phillies re-signed veteran Brian Schneider to an $800,000 deal to back up Carlos Ruiz for a third straight season. But the 35-year-old Northampton native appeared in just 34 games during an injury-plagued campaign. Kratz has hit as many home runs this year as Schneider has in three seasons with the team.
In Frandsen, the Phillies might have a utility infielder who can also contribute at the plate, something they did not have in players like Eric Bruntlett, Juan Castro and Michael Martinez. They still do not sound sold on him as an everyday third baseman, mostly because of his glove (a .934 fielding percentage at the position this season). They would have to feel comfortable with his ability to play shortstop on a periodic basis in order to carry him as their lone utility man.
"Because he can play different positions, I think he could definitely be a utility player or a platoon, part-time player," Manuel said. "I'm not saying he can't play regular, but he could fit on our team and make us better in that capacity."
More so than Kratz, Frandsen's fate will be decided by the moves the Phillies make this offseason. With Chase Utley experimenting at third base and the free-agent market thin on obvious regulars at second and third, the Phillies could opt to pair defensive whiz Freddy Galvis with an offensive-minded veteran like Jeff Keppinger (at second or third) or Kelly Johnson (at second). Such a decision would likely render Frandsen's skill set redundant.
That being said, the .331 batting average, .383 on-base percentage and .438 slugging percentage that he carried into Thursday's game (albeit in 184 plate appearances) could factor into the Phillies' thinking.
Thursday's loss to the Nationals was the final home game of the season for the Phillies, who finished the season 40-41 at Citizens Bank Park. They still finished the season with a total home attendance of 3,565,718, which led the majors.
Contact David Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @HighCheese. For Phillies coverage and opinion, read his blog at philly.com/HighCheese.