When the Phillies announced their non-tenders last week, reliever Luis Garcia was not on the list.  Many found the move surprising; the Phillies have many right-handed relief options and Garcia did not have a strong 2018.  But perhaps they had something else in mind all along.

The move gives the Phillies yet another left-handed reliever option.

Lefty Jose Alvarez gave the Angels a 6-4 record with a 2.71 earned run average in 2018.  Alvarez struck out 59 in 63 innings pitched, compiling a WAR of 1.4.  Meanwhile, Garcia had an ERA over 6.  Why would the Angels make this deal?

The Angels website "Halo Heaven" was critical of the move, with a headline: "Jose Alvarez finally became good, so on principle the Angels had to trade him to the Phillies for worse talent".  Their analysis:

He compiled a 3.35 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP through 236.2 innings, spending a lot of time as Mike Scioscia’s trusted lefty option out of the pen. His 2018 campaign was his best, when he pitched 63 innings with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Before last season, he was maligned as a pitcher who was used in the wrong situations and as someone who simply couldn’t get the batters he needed to out.

So after the improvement, he was sent to Philadelphia.  For Garcia.

The Phillies picked up James Pezos in trade with the Mariners and have left-handed relievers Adam Morgan and Austin Davis on the roster already.  That will give the Phillies some depth in 2019 that they struggled to find last season.  Of last year's two left-handed bullpen in-season acquisitions, the Phillies non-tendered Luis Avilan at the contract deadline and Aaron Loup became a free agent..

Both Garcia and Alvarez are out of minor league options and are facing salary arbitration.

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