Phillies make 3 smart 40-man roster cuts after signings

Cole Irvin #47 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Cole Irvin #47 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies have made three significant upgrades to their 40-man roster in recent days, adding southpaw catcher J.T. Realmuto, starting pitcher Matt Moore, and shortstop Didi Gregorius.

In order to sign these free-agent players, however, corresponding moves had to be made. The Phillies made the smart decision with each of the three such recent transactions.

The Phillies 40-man roster has received a huge boost in recent days.

First, the Phillies designated right-handed reliever Ian Hamilton for assignment. Previously claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners in early December, Hamilton appeared in four games for the Chicago White Sox this past season, allowing just a pair of runs across four innings. Assuming the two-year veteran does not get claimed this time, he likely will compete in spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Once thought to be a left-handed mainstay in the Phillies rotation for years to come, the Phillies dealt Cole Irvin to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations on Saturday to create another 40-man roster spot. Irvin thrived in the minors, particularly with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Spanning 43 combined appearances and 41 starts betyween 2018-19, he went 20-5 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.165 WHIP, and 196-49 strikeouts-to-walks ratio through 255 innings. His success never translated over to the majors, however, where he went 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA spanning 19 appearances and 45 1/3 innings between 2019-20.

Lastly, the Phillies likewise parted ways with their 2020 Rule 5 Draft pick Kyle Holder, trading the infielder to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday for cash considerations. The Phillies and Reds reportedly were finalists for free-agent Didi Gregorius, so the Phillies came away with a win-win here — not only signing the star shortstop, but also dealing away one of their infield surplus to their runner-up for at least some value in return. The 26-year-old slashed .265/.336/.405 with 25 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 40 RBI spanning 112 games and 472 plate appearances with the Double-A Trenton Thunder in 2019. Holder would have needed to be on the Phils’ big-league roster the entire 2021 season in order to avoid possibly losing him back to the New York Yankees.

There is no doubt that Realmuto, Moore, and Gregorius gives far better prospects for a contending 2021 season over Hamilton, Irvin, and Holder being on the team’s 40-man roster.

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