After a surprisingly uneventful trade deadline on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies are in the process of adding some of their new pieces to the active roster. At the same time, players are beginning to lose their roster spots in favor of some new blood.
Landing infielder Rodolfo Castro from the Pirates and right-handed pitcher Michael Lorenzen from the Tigers, the Phillies also made the immediate decision on Tuesday to designate utilityman Josh Harrison for assignment in favor of Castro. The club announced on Wednesday that the two-time All-Star has been released, effective immediately.
Getting rid of Harrison is the smartest move the Phillies could have made here. The 36-year-old is a well-respected veteran who at one point was one of the top infielders in the game, but he has been a shell of the player he once was this season. Now that his tenure in Philly is over, he was worth -0.7 bWAR with a .204 average and 52 OPS+ in 40 games played.
Where the Phillies went wrong, however, is in the adjacent move to the Lorenzen acquisition. Instead of moving on from Dylan Covey, who has been gradually improving as of late but is still massively unreliable (12 appearances, 5.40 ERA and 81 ERA+), the team elected to designated left-hander Andrew Vasquez for assignment.
The Andrew Vasquez DFA is a bone-headed move by the Phillies.
The 6-foot-6 southpaw made 30 appearances for the Phillies prior to his being designated, establishing himself as one of the more solid options out of the club's bullpen. In that time, he posted a sparkling 2.27 ERA with an ERA+ of 190. While his 39.2 innings of work is a relatively small sample size, he's proven time and time again that he is a trustworthy reliever, so for the club to cut him instead of Covey is, in a word, baffling. Vasquez's DFA signifies that the Phillies must be confident in José Alvarado's seamless transition once he is back from the injured list.
Again, moving on from Harrison was the smartest move to make here in favor of Castro. However, cutting bait on Vasquez was simply not the right decision by the Phillies.