With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring on December 1, many MLB teams are accelerating their offseason plans, wanting to have solid additions locked down before an almost-inevitable lockout.
The Philadelphia Phillies are no exception; they made several roster moves over the weekend.
Here’s what you may have missed and why it matters:
The Phillies acquired catcher Garrett Stubbs from the Astros for Logan Cerny
After backup catcher Andrew Knapp elected free agency rather than be outrighted, the Phillies were on the hunt for a replacement. They found one in Astros backup Garrett Stubbs, whom they acquired in exchange for outfield prospect Logan Cerny.
Offensively, the 28-year-old doesn’t have impressive big-league numbers, though the sample size is minuscule. But like many catchers, Stubbs’ appeal is in his defense. According to Baseball Prospectus, Stubbs has a 41% caught-stealing rate in the big leagues.
The Yankees traded RHP Nick Nelson and catching prospect Donny Sands to the Phillies
The Phillies went from having two catchers (J.T. Realmuto and Rafael Marchan) to four, as they added Stubbs and Donny Sands over the weekend.
Nick Nelson has pitched at the big-league level, but the first impression wasn’t exactly dazzling. The 35-year-old righty debuted in 2020 and posted a 4.79 ERA over 11 appearances. He made another 11 appearances in 2021, and his ERA nearly doubled to 8.79.
However, look deeper than the high ERA and Nelson brings a lot to the table. In 2021, his FIP was less than half his ERA, his strikeout rate skyrocketed, and he didn’t allow a single home run to the 78 batters he faced. He needs to minimize hits and walks, but there appears to be a diamond in the rough.
As MLBTR notes, Nelson’s strikeout rate in the minor leagues was at least 26.2% at every level since 2016. He also has experience as both a starter and reliever, meaning the Phillies have flexibility with this addition.
The Phillies claimed LHP Kent Emanuel off waivers
Kent Emanuel is an interesting pickup for the Phillies. Over the last year, he’s served an 80-game suspension for PEDs – which he maintains he did not use – and then had his 2021 season cut short when his elbow required UCL surgery. It wasn’t as serious as Tommy John surgery, which he had in 2015.
Emanuel made his big-league debut in April 2021, and made 10 appearances for the Astros to the tune of a 2.55 ERA before his season-ending surgery. 68 batters’ worth of work over 17 2/3 innings isn’t much to go on, especially since all but one of his appearances were against American League teams.
Something interesting: Emanuel has the same birthday as his new teammate, Aaron Nola.
The Phillies added Luis García, James McArthur, and Jhailyn Ortiz to the 40-man roster
Ahead of the Rule 5 Draft on December 8, the Phillies added three more prospects to their 40-man roster. Infielder Luis García, and outfielders James McArthur and Jhailyn Ortiz are officially protected. None of them have reached Triple-A yet, but their addition to the 40-man shows how important the organization thinks they are for the future.
The Phillies 40-man roster now sits at 39.