Phillies land Erich Uelmen from Cubs, designate 2 pitchers for assignment

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Erich Uelmen (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Erich Uelmen (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phillies have acquired reliever Erich Uelmen in a trade with the Cubs.

Philadelphia Phillies offseason moves have been mostly silent as of late, but the club added and subtracted pitchers on Wednesday with less than 90 days until Opening Day of the 2023 season.

Along with their Craig Kimbrel signing becoming official, the Phillies announced that they acquired right-handed reliever Erich Uelmen from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations. As corresponding moves, the club designated right-handed pitchers Francisco Morales and Vinny Nittoli for assignment.

Uelmen, 26, went 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA, 1.370 WHIP, and 21-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 25 appearances and 27 innings last season as a rookie with the Cubs.

Coincidentally, the Las Vegas native’s big-league debut came in the Cubs’ 15-2 rout of the Phillies on July 22. Uelmen surrendered a ninth-inning home run to Darick Hall but was able to strike out Nick Castellanos for the game’s final out.

Morales’ removal from the Phillies’ 40-man roster for Kimbrel was a bit of a surprise, considering he was once viewed as one of their top pitching prospects. However, as The Athletics’ Matt Gelb notes, it seems as though the club did not believe Morales could contribute big-league innings in 2023.

With 40-man roster spots at a premium for the defending National League champions, the Phillies seem to believe Uelmen can make more of an immediate impact. Expect him to receive trade interest similar to Uelmen, who the Cubs designated for assignment last month.

Meanwhile, Nittoli has been designated for assignment a little more than four months since the Phils acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league catcher Karl Ellison. Nittoli pitched two scoreless innings in early September appearances in red pinstripes, albeit only striking out one of his eight batters faced.

With pitchers and catchers reporting more than a month away, these surely are not Dave Dombrowski’s last offseason moves.

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