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.]