Phillies Have Also Lost Players This Off-Season
By Matt Veasey
While the Philadelphia Phillies have brought in a number of new players for 2016, the club has also lost a few from the organization.
Aside from the obvious loss of closer Ken Giles in the big trade for five young pitchers, there are a number of other players who contributed significantly to the 2015 big league club, to other recent Phillies teams, or who were long time minor league prospects, who will not return to the organization next year.
The biggest name is also the one that was most obviously not returning, former lefty ace Cliff Lee, who has unsuccessfully battled injuries over the last two seasons.
The now 37-year old Lee is a free agent, and has been linked to a number of teams including the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, and Kansas City Royals. He is most likely to catch on with a contending team on a non-guaranteed contract with a spring training invitation.
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Three starting pitchers who took the mound for the Phillies in 2015 will also not be returning. Aaron Harang made 29 starts in what was always a one-year, stopgap signing. Jerome Williams made 30 starts and another dozen relief appearances over the last season-plus. Chad Billingsley took the mound for just seven ineffective starts in yet another injury-marred 2015 season. All remain free agents at this time.
We previously discussed how the recent additions of outfielders Peter Bourjos off waivers from the Saint Louis Cardinals and Tyler Goeddel via the Rule 5 Draft from the Tampa Bay Rays organization will almost certainly mean that Jeff Francoeur will be moving on to another club after one popular season in Philly.
Also covered here at TBOH was the signing earlier this month of reliever Justin De Fratus, who pitched in parts of the last five seasons out of the Phillies bullpen, with the Seattle Mariners.
Back in October, the Phillies outrighted a number of players to the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs roster, effectively making most of them free agents. Among those were the former top prospect in baseball, Domonic Brown, who spent parts of a half-dozen underwhelming seasons in a Phillies uniform. He remains a free agent as Christmas approaches.
Jun 2, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; It would be wrong not to say one last goodbye here to Lee, a member of the ‘Four Aces’ rotation that led the record-setting 2011 Phillies to 102 regular season victories. (Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)Also in that group were outfielders Brian Bogusevic, who chose to sign in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes, and Jordan Danks, who remains a free agent at this time. Infielder Chase d’Arnaud signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves, while catcher Erik Kratz signed with the San Diego Padres.
Once a rising young starting pitching prospect, the injury-marred career of Jonathan Pettibone likely came to an end as far as the Phillies are concerned when he too was outrighted off the 40-man roster. The righty elected free agency, and will attempt to come back with another organization.
Finally, Kelly Dugan, a 24-year old outfielder in the Phillies farm system for parts of the last seven seasons, was outrighted back in October as well. He was just signed to a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, and will continue chasing his big league dream with the rising Cubbies.
Aside from the obvious Giles, and possibly Francoeur, none of those players or prospects was important to the Phillies rebuilding plan, either in the long or short-term. But at various times over the last few years, each played a role in the organization, some more important than others. They all deserved one last goodbye, and a wish for good luck.