Phillies Start Changing Roster With Three Moves
The Phillies do not have a field manager yet, and last night was the second Wild Card game. But that did not stop the club from making moves. In what will be the first of many, the Phillies announced that three players cleared waivers and will exercise their contractual rights to become free agents.
The biggest name is utility man Ty Kelly. The switch-hitting infielder and outfielder joined the Phillies after Howie Kendrick's first disabled list stint in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Kelly stuck around for pretty much the whole season, minus a quick four-game stint at Triple-A Lehigh Valley (which was long enough for him to be awoken by a drug raid next door at his minor league hotel).
Kelly had 14 runs batted in to go with his 17 hits for the Phillies, which is not a bad ratio. However, Kelly batted just .193 for the Phillies in 69 games. Kelly wouuld have plenty of team control, but internal options such as Jesmuel Valentin may be available for the 2018 club.
Henderson Alvarez had a great amount of success with the Florida Marlins, even pitching a no-hitter for the club. After a shoulder injury shut down Alvarez in 2016 while a member of the Oakland Athletics, Alvarez did not land with a big league organization and was pitching fo the independent Long Island Ducks when the Phillies called.
Originally signed to help the Phillies at Triple-A Lehigh Valley when most of their starting rotation was promoted to Philadelphia, Alvarez ended up making three starts for the big league club down the stretch to help rest the other five arms in the rotation, going 0-1 with a 4.30 earned run average. At 27, Alvarez may have a shot to reclaim his career, but is arbitration eligible and too unpredictable for the Phillies to keep around.
Finally, the Phillies claimed Kevin Siegrist from the St. Louis Cardinals late in the summer. Siegrist had near-dominant 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Cardinals but succumbed to injury in 2017. The Phillies claimed Siegrist as sort of a reclamation project. Siegrist went without a record and pitched to a 3.60 earned run average in seven games and 5.0 innings.
Siegrist is also arbritration eligible, and the Phillies simply did not see enough of Siegrist to warrant keeping him on the 40-man roster. Siegrist's velocity has not returned to 2015/2016 levels and there are many players the Phillies need to protect. Plus, with the emergence of Adam Morgan and Hoby Milner as left-handed options, the Phillies likely feel protected from the left side.
Players who need to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being taken in the Rule 5 draft this winter include: Franklyn Kilome, Ranger Suarez, Brandon Leibrandt, Andrew Pullin, Elniery Garcia, Alberto Tirado, and Carlos Tocci.
Additionally, Jerad Eickhoff, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Jesen Therrien will need to exit the 60-day disabled list and return to the 40-man roster.
So, these moves are just the first of many. The Phillies will need to clear much more space before the Rule 5 draft in December at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. This is only the beginning.