Phillies cut non-roster invitees Drew Storen, Matt Szczur

Drew Storen #22 of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Drew Storen #22 of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The Phillies have released Drew Storen and Matt Szczur

The Philadelphia Phillies have made their first transactions since the roster freeze was lifted, and, no, it is not a contract extension of All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Rather, on Sunday, the organization announced that it has released right-handed reliever Drew Storen and outfielder Matt Szczur, who were invited to big-league camp in Clearwater earlier this year on minor-league deals, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen. Szczur is “very surprised” by the Phillies’ decision given expanded rosters, according to 6ABC’s Jeff Skversky, who reported the outfielder feels he could have helped this year’s team.

The announcement comes a few hours before the Phillies’ Sunday deadline to submit their 60-player pool list of players eligible to participate in the upcoming season. Reliever Addison Russ is the first known player to be added to the pool.

Storen, 32, has pitched eight seasons in the majors, including six with the Phillies’ division rival Washington Nationals from 2010 to 2015; since, he appeared for Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners in 2016, as well as the Cincinnati Reds in 2017. He missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, and appeared in just nine games with the Kansas City Royals’ Double-A affiliate in 2019, posting a 7.84 ERA and 1.935 WHIP across 10 1/3 innings.

In five appearances at Phillies’ spring training before the shutdown, Storen allowed four hits, two runs (both earned), one home run, no walks and five strikeouts en route to a 3.60 ERA and 0.800 WHIP.

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The former first-round draft pick collected a 29-18 record and 3.45 ERA through 470 career appearances, 187 of which finished a game. While a National, Storen saved 95 games, but coincidentally he lost his closer job to Jonathan Papelbon, who the Phillies dealt to the nation’s capital in exchange for Nick Pivetta.

Szczur, a Cape May, New Jersey, native and Villanova University alumnus, has played in parts of five seasons in his career, starting with the Chicago Cubs (2014-17), as well as with the San Diego Padres (2017-18). Szczur signed a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2019 season, but never appeared in the majors; in 44 games at Triple-A Reno, he slashed an impressive .322/.390/.577 with eight home runs and 28 RBI, but missed time due to a quad injury.

Overall in his career, the 30-year-old has slashed .231/.312/.255 with 31 doubles, 12 home runs, 61 RBI, 65 walks and 133 strikeouts spanning 363 games and 667 plate appearances; earlier this year in Phillies camp, Szczur just made one plate appearance, where he grounded into a double play.