Phillies finalize deal with once highly-touted pitching prospect, DFA right-hander

The team finally made Spencer Turnbull's signing official, DFAing McKinley Moore to make room for the once highly-touted prospect.
Philadelphia Phillies finalize contract with former highly-touted pitching prospect Spencer Turnbull
Philadelphia Phillies finalize contract with former highly-touted pitching prospect Spencer Turnbull / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have been on a mission to add as much pitching depth as possible over the last few weeks, and they have now added another arm to watch as spring training begins.

The Phillies officially reached an agreement on Wednesday with right-handed pitcher Spencer Turnbull. The one-year, $2 million major league contract finalizes the deal that first came out on Feb. 11, courtesy of the New York Post's Jon Heyman. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team announced that they designated pitcher McKinley Moore for assignment.

The addition of Turnbull comes at a time that has seen the Phillies continue to add starting pitching depth to the organization, with the signings of Max Castillo and Kolby Allard being recent examples. With the starting rotation seemingly set for 2024, the trio is likely looking at trying to win one of the two open bullpen slots and be available to slide into the rotation in the event of injury.

Who is Spencer Turnbull?

Spencer Turnbull was once a highly-touted pitching prospect with the Detroit Tigers, selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Dave Dombrowski, Detroit's general manager at the time, is more than familiar with Turnbull as a pitcher.

Turnbull has had an inconsistent career, to put it mildly. In 2019, he went 2-17 for the Tigers and led all of Major League Baseball in losses. Arguably, his most consistent season came during the shortened 2020 season when he pitched to a record of 4-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 starts.

He got off to a great start to begin 2021, going 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA and recording a no-hitter on May 18 against the Seattle Mariners. Turnbull injured his elbow a few starts later and had Tommy John reconstructive surgery that sidelined him until 2023.

In his return last season, the 31-year-old struggled mightily. With a 1-4 record and a 7.26 ERA, Turnbull was again shut down due to injuries and would spend the rest of the season in the minor leagues.

By signing Turnbull, the Phillies are once again hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and that the righty can recapture some of the pitching tools that once made him a highly-touted prospect. It's a nice low stakes situation with a high reward for the Phillies if Turnbull can stay healthy and show that he has something left.