Phillies News: Phillies lose depth as minor leaguers opt for free agency

Hans Crouse elects free agency, Philadelphia Phillies
Hans Crouse elects free agency, Philadelphia Phillies / Eric Espada/GettyImages

While we're all still waiting for news on major league free agent signings, the minor leagues' offseason transaction wire has been busy with players from all organizations opting for free agency.

The Philadelphia Phillies lost some minor league depth, with 20 players reportedly choosing to hit the open market, per the MiLB-Transactions account on X (formerly Twitter).

There are some notable names among the new free agents.

In the fallout from the Phillies' recent moves of claiming Josh Fleming off waivers and trading for Michael Mercado from the Tampa Bay Rays, pitchers Michael Plassmeyer and Erich Uelmen have both opted to go the free agent route after clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

After coming over in trade from the San Francisco Giants in 2022, Plassmeyer made three appearances in the majors for the Phillies across the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The lefty threw 11 innings with a 9.82 ERA. In his one game this year, he got mauled for nine earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. The 27-year-old made 19 appearances in the minors in 2023 and finished with a 4.64 ERA over 75 2/3 innings.

Uelmen, 27, appeared in one game this year, his lone season in the Phillies organization and gave up four runs in one inning of work. The right-hander pitched in 16 games in the minors this season, with a 4.08 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. He had just been removed from the 60-day IL.

Hans Crouse, 25, a former second-round pick of the Texas Rangers, came over as part of the Kyle Gibson trade in 2021. The right-hander started two games for the Phillies in 2021 with a 5.14 ERA in seven innings. A biceps injury derailed his 2022 season, and he only pitched 22 innings in the minors this year with a 6.14 ERA.

Right-handed pitcher Jeremey Walker, 28, also opted for free agency after one season in the Phillies system. The former Atlanta Braves fifth-round pick threw 68 1/3 innings in Triple-A with a 2.90 ERA.

Journeyman Shaun Anderson signed as a free agent in July after pitching in the KBO. The 29-year-old righty has 63 games in the majors between the Giants, Twins, Orioles, and Blue Jays but never got a chance to pitch with the Phillies. In 11 starts in Triple-A, Anderson had a 4.85 ERA in 52 innings.

In other transactional news, the Phillies also released catcher Vito Friscia, shortstop Madison Stokes, and pitchers Jace Vines and Josh Hendrickson, per Matt Winkleman.

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