Minor Leagues

Phillies Sign Four to Minor League Deals with Invites


Marson returns to the Phillies on a minor league deal.

The Phillies have announced via their transaction page that catcher Lou Marson, outfielders Tony Gwynn and Dave Sappelt, and right-handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan have been signed to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training.

Marson, 27, was once a top Phillies prospect and was ranked as the #66th overall prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. A fourth round pick out of high school in 2004 by the Phillies, Marson returns to the organization that drafted him after hitting .217/.308/.295 from 2009 through 2013 with Cleveland. Marson served primarily as Cleveland’s back-up catcher from 2010 to 2012 and missed most of 2013 with a right shoulder injury.

Gwynn, 31, last played in the Majors in 2012 with the Dodgers and is a career .244/.312/.318 hitter in 1671 PA that has susccessfully stolen 77 bases in 103 attempts (74.76%) in 605 games.

Sappelt, 26, spent 2011 with the Reds and 2012 and 2013 with the Cubs. Sappelt is a career .279/.332/.402 in Triple-A that used to take a lot of chances on the basepaths but ultimately came up empty (62.73% in the minors). Sappelt is a .251/.301/.343 Major League hitter in 274 PA.

O’Sullivan, 26, has spent time from 2009 through 2013 with the Angels, Royals, and Padres, posting a 5.89 ERA, mostly as a starter.

Analysis: The return of Marson is a positive. Marson is an upgrade over former emergency catcher Steven Lerud and still has some potential to become a better hitter. Gwynn probably isn’t much more than filler that will help round out the IronPigs. Sappelt and O’Sullivan, like Marson, are solid flier pick-ups to add depth to Triple-A or to the big league club in the event of an emergency.

[It’s never too early to start thinking about Phillies tickets.]



  1. Moshe Kravitz

    December 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    You linked to the wrong Tony Gwynn, you linked to Tony Gwynn senior the Hall of Famer and .338 lifetime hitter you meant to link to Tony Gwynn Jr. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gwynnto02.shtml

  2. The Original Chuck P

    December 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I like Gwynn… he’s a very good defender and can steal bases at a very good clip. He’ll press Ben Revere and, who knows, maybe he benefits from a change of scenery. Plus, if he’s here that means his dad will be here, too… two thumbs up to seeing Tony Gwynn Sr. in the stands.

    O’Sullivan is sort of a waste, to me… low 90’s- high 80’s, RH, junk ball guy. Had an ok year in San Diego, I guess (3.96 ERA) but that’s San Diego where ERA’s are typically low.

    Sappelt seems like a good low-risk, medium reward bet… mixed bag with him. Decent arm, decent speed (yet, not really a base stealer – seems to tally extra base hits, though), not a ton of power but solid line drive guy.

    Marson is a fine third catcher… who knows what happens with him. Maybe he finds his mojo.

  3. Bart Shart

    December 18, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Must be something wrong with me….I am not that excited at this news

    • wbramh

      December 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      I suppose minor league clubs need to be kept well-stocked but it would be nice to read about the team inviting 22-25-year-olds to camp rather than 27-31-year-olds already established as low-enders who have struggled to stay with parent clubs. We already had a slew of those guys sitting on the CBP bench… or worse, playing.

      But okay, maybe this unimpressive catcher is better then the other 4 or 5 unimpressive catchers available as the #3 backup.


      • hk

        December 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

        Teams usually don’t let worthwhile 22-25 year olds become free agents.

      • wbramh

        December 19, 2013 at 1:24 am

        Right. And therein lies the problem – or lack of solution.

      • hk

        December 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

        I guess the point is that these types of signings are not the solution for the Phillies nor are they for any MLB team. They are to provide AAAA depth. Players who start the season at AAA and are called up when a short-term need exists. For instance, if the Phillies need a starter for one game and they don’t want to start the service time clock on Biddle or Morgan, O’ Sullivan should be fine. Similarly, if Wil Nieves goes on the DL, they might prefer to bring up Marson to serve as a back-up for 2 weeks and let Rupp continue to get playing time at Lehigh Valley.

        If a team is relying on signing the O’Sullivans and Marsons of the world to provide a solution, they are in a world of hurt and worse than the Phillies. After all, the Pittsburgh Pirates, fresh off a playoff appearance, just signed Mini-Mart to a minor league deal similar to the ones that the Phillies just signed with these 4..

      • wbramh

        December 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        I think the Pirates signed MiniMart just to screw with the Phillies’ collective head –
        as I suspect Belichick did to Ryan when New England picked up the discarded Tebow.
        If the Pirates bring up MiniMart it will be for the purpose of hawking hot dogs.
        Huntington will send a iPhone pic to Rube and everyone (in Pittsburgh) will get a cheap laugh.

  4. Matt

    December 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    That wasn’t a mistake. It’s a vintage Ruben move. He only hit the hall of fame in 07 he has a few more years left. Great job rube!

  5. Mike in NJ

    December 19, 2013 at 8:05 am

    There is really no reason ever to sign a pitcher who has a career ERA near 6. The other guys I’m Ok with as AAA depth, but probably don’t belong on a ML roster for more than a 2 week emergency.

    • wbramh

      December 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      They make for decent batting practice pitchers and in actual games give outfielders practice running into walls.

  6. Phillies fan from Germany

    December 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I have a soft spot for Gwynn simply because his father was one of my heroes. His bat control was unbelievable. In his career he only had 434 K’s in more than 10,200 PA. Some of todays players do that in two seasons.

    • wbramh

      December 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      And the Phillies still have a soft spot or two in their lineup.

      • Phillies Fan from Germany

        December 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm


  7. Larry Harlow

    December 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I think Dontrelle Willis is available.

  8. c. schreiber

    December 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    You know Rube, if you still need RH power, I think Dick (don’t call me Ritchie) Allen is still out there. Fits your qualifications, ex Phil and OLD. Your a joke of a GM.

    • Jay

      December 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Lol…so funny…yet so painfully true

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