3 Rays players Phillies still wish they had on their roster
By Matt Rappa
3. RHP John Curtiss
Right-handed reliever John Curtiss never pitched in a Major League game for the Phillies, but the team still had him at their disposal to promote during his 2019 stint with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
In June 2019, the Phillies signed Curtiss after he had been recently let go from the Los Angeles Angels organization. At the time, the then-26-year-old has made 18 relief appearances in his career — 17 with the Minnesota Twins (2017-18) and one in 2019 with the Angels. Combined, he went just 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA, 1.615 WHIP and 18-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The 2019 season finished with Curtiss making nine appearances as an IronPig; he posted a 10.95 ERA in 12 1/3 innings, and the Phillies decided it would be best to part ways with the veteran in July of that year.
The Rays then came along and decided to give Curtiss another chance; their decision surely has paid off. The Dallas, Texas, native went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.960 WHIP across 25 innings with the Rays this season. And, in four outings in the American League Championship Series against the Astros, the right-hander yielded only one earned run in 4 1/3 innings, en route to a 2.08 ERA.
While in college at the University of Texas at Austin, Curtiss underwent two significant surgeries for a pitcher — thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and Tommy John surgery. After being let go by the Twins, Angels, and Phillies, his fourth go-around with the Rays goes to show that anyone can overcome an obstacle and shine.
Now, Curtiss, Loup, and Morton will get the chance to pitch on baseball’s biggest stage, and potentially come away as the 2020 World Series champions.