Phillies leave outfield depth thin with latest DFA of promising hitter ahead of spring training

The Phillies claimed reliever Max Castillo off waivers on Wednesday, designating Símon Muzziotti for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Philadelphia Phillies designated Simon Muzziotti for assignment after claiming Max Castillo off waivers
Philadelphia Phillies designated Simon Muzziotti for assignment after claiming Max Castillo off waivers / Kelly Gavin/GettyImages

The 40-man roster churn continues for the Philadelphia Phillies with spring training looming on the horizon. On Wednesday, the Phillies announced they have claimed reliever Max Castillo off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

In the corresponding move, promising young hitter Símon Muzziotti was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

The right-handed Castillo adds another optionable reliever to the ever-increasing Phillies bullpen flexibility. The move comes a day after the team acquired right-hander Michael Rucker from the Chicago Cubs and designated reliever Andrew Bellatti, who was out of options.

Move leaves Phillies thin on outfield depth

In designating Muzziotti for assignment, the Phillies risk losing a young outfielder who MLB Pipeline ranked as the organization's No. 8 prospect just last season.

Muzziotti made his big league debut in 2022, but didn't have a good showing in his nine-game stint with the big club, slashing just .143/.250/.143. In Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season, the 25-year-old lefty hit a healthy .296/.358/.404. He's never been touted to have power, hitting just seven home runs for the IronPigs, but has good bat-to-ball skills, can run the bases, and plays a plus-defensive center field.

The move also leaves the team thin on outfield depth, with five, six, or seven outfielders remaining on the 40-man roster, depending on how you count. Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas, Jake Cave, Cristian Pache, and Kyle Schwarber are the primary depth, although with Schwarber transitioning to a full-time DH, he might not be a factor out there. Recently claimed utility player Diego Castillo also has experience playing the corner outfield positions.

Max Castillo adds pitching depth and roster flexibility

The Phillies' newest pitcher, Max Castillo, had only been with the Red Sox since being claimed off waivers by Boston at the beginning of January. Before that, he was with the Kansas City Royals, bouncing between Triple-A and the majors in 2023.

In seven games out of the bullpen for the Royals last season, Castillo ran a 4.43 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a 5.32 FIP in 20 1/3 innings. Since making his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022, the native of Venezuela has a career 5.43 ERA and 1.37 WHIP with a 5.22 FIP.

In Triple-A last season, Castillo complied a 6-7 record in 22 games (21 starts) with a 4.58 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 6.23 FIP over 116 innings.

With a 93 mph fastball, 84 mph slider, and 87 mph changeup, Castillo doesn't get many swings and misses. He had a 4.43 K/9 last year, with an 11.2 percent strikeout rate and a 6.7 percent swinging strike rate.

What the Phillies envision for Castillo, aside from just more organizational pitching depth and roster flexibility, is anyone's guess.