Even with uncertainty about when the 2020 MLB season will begin, the Philadelphia Phillies made some minor transactions Thursday, announcing that six players were optioned to Triple-A.
Outfielder Nick Williams, outfielder Kyle Garlick, LHP Cole Irvin, LHP Austin Davis, RHP Edgar Garcia and RHP Reggie McClain were all sent to Lehigh Valley Thursday, as the Phillies continue to trim down what will eventually be their opening day roster.
One of Williams or Garlick would have had a real shot at making the opening day roster if the season began today, as it was initially expected to. However, with the start of the season pushed back because of COVID-19, Andrew McCutchen is expected to be ready to return from his ACL tear, which he suffered last June.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Williams, who was acquired in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade with the Texas Rangers. The 26-year-old hit just .151 in 106 at-bats at the major league level in 2019, and bounced back and fourth between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley last year. His value as a bench player is limited by the fact that he can’t play center field, and hasn’t graded out well as a fielder in either corner outfield spot. Williams feels like someone that needs a change of scenery, and perhaps he’ll ultimately get one at some point in 2020.
The Phillies acquired Garlick from the Los Angeles Dodgers in February. The 28-year-old hit .314 with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs at Triple-A a season ago, but was blocked by perhaps the deepest outfield in the sport. For the time being, he’ll be blocked in Philadelphia too.
Roman Quinn, who is out of minor league options, will almost certainly be the team’s fifth outfielder to begin the season.
Irvin and Davis pitched quite a bit at the major league level for the Phillies a season ago, and may ultimately do so again in 2020. Irvin had more success as a reliever at the major league level a season ago, but it’s likely the Phillies will keep him stretched out at Triple-A so he could be a possible spot starter. Davis is blocked by Jose Alvarez, Adam Morgan and non-roster invitee Francisco Liriano as left-handed bullpen options for Joe Girardi.
Garcia, 23, was forced to the major league level quicker than the Phillies probably would have liked a season ago. He posted a 5.77 ERA in 37 games.
McClain was claimed off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners in January. While he won’t begin the season on the major league roster, the 27-year-old can head to Triple-A knowing that he may have delivered the filthiest pitch of Spring Training:
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