A Different Approach?

This season, I noticed a different approach in the Phillies’ offseason acquisition of new personnel and the disposition and assignment of said personnel.

In past seasons, we would see the Phillies sign a bunch of minor league free agents during the early offseason and then release a lot of them by the end of spring training.

This past offseason, the Phillies loaded up with a lot of minor league free agents and released relatively few of them.  This had the intended or unintended effect of blocking a lot of the level-to-level promotions that many expected for the 2022 season.

I’m sure most of you noticed the lack of promotions whether it be the few guys you were following or maybe the overall lack of promotions for most players.  I’m not so sure that a lot noticed the influx of experienced minor leaguer free agents.

So, I spent a lot of time going through the transaction logs during September when the anxiety of the Phillies’ games became too much to bear.  The in-game distraction got me through the month.

This exploration of the available transaction data will show how the Phillies utilize or dispose of these free agents by the start of each season.

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to decide how to present what I uncovered in a way that makes sense and at an appropriate time.  I don’t know if it has any value or if it is the correct time.  Regardless, here it is since we have a lull until Game One on Friday.

I reviewed the transaction logs for 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.  2020 is an outlier due to COVID.


During the 2018 offseason (that which followed the 2017 regular season), the Phillies signed 27 minor league free agents.  (They sign minor league free agents each offseason to replenish their minor league affiliates.  As you will see in the coming days or weeks, they lose a couple dozen of their minor league players to free agency once they reach the end of their initial seven-year commitment each year.)

This isn’t the only way teams or the Phillies fill their openings.  The Phillies –

  • claimed Engelb Vielma off waivers but lost him to waivers,
  • selected/traded Nick Burdi in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft,
  • acquired 2 players in 2 trades – assigned Enyel De Los Santos (Freddy Galvis) to Lehigh Valley (LHV) and Brandon Bednar to Reading (REA),
  • signed 4 MLB free agents – assigned Carlos Santana to the active roster, assigned Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter to the 10-day injured list, and optioned Jake Arrieta,
  • selected the contracts of 4 players prior to the Rule 5 draft, all were optioned – Jose Taveras, Ranger Suarez, Seranthony Dominguez, and Franklyn Kilome.

Of the 27 minor league free agents they signed –

  • 2 were selected for the active roster – Pedro Florimon and Drew Hutchinson,
  • 18 were assigned to the minors –
    • 15 to LHV – Ranfi Casimiro, Logan Moore, Nick Robles, Steve Geltz, Heiker Meneses, Danny Ortiz, Matt McBride, Pedro Beato, Will Middlebrooks (season-ending injury during camp), Joey Meneses, Adron Chambers, Collin Cowgill, Gabriel Lino, Alexi Amarista, and Dean Anna.
    • 1 to REA – Josh Tols.
    • 1 to Clearwater (CLR) – Wilson Garcia.
    • 1 to Williamsport (WPT) – Tim Berry.
  • 7 left the organization –
    • 6 released – Ryan Etsell, Francisco Rodrigues, Adam Rosales, Ryan Flaherty, Fernando Abad, Parker Frazer,
    • 1 retired – Eric Fryer.

As the beginning of the season neared the Phillies –

  • optioned players – Drew Anderson, Dylan Cozens, Jesumel Valentin, Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin, Zac Curtis.
  • designated players –
    • Eliezar Alvarez and Ricardo Pinto traded,
    • Tommy Joseph waiver claimed,
    • Cameron Rupp released.
  • recalled – Yacksel Rios.
  • selected – Scott Kingery.
  • placed on the 10-day injury list – Mark Leiter Jr and Jerad Eickhoff.


During the 2019 offseason, the Phillies signed 16 minor league free agents. They also –

  • selected/traded Drew Jackson in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft,
  • selected Gilmael Troya (assigned to Jersey Shore (JS)) in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft,
  • acquired 5 players in 3 trades – Jean Segura, James Pazos (optioned), Juan Nicasio (Carlos Santana and JP Crawford), Jose Alvarez (Luis Garcia), and JT Realmuto (Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart, and international bonus $),
  • signed 3 MLB free agents – Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Bryce Harper,
  • selected the contracts of 3 players prior to the Rule 5 draft, all were optioned – Arquimedes Gamboa, Adonis Medina, Edgar Garcia.

Of the 16 minor league free agents, they signed –

  • 9 were assigned to the minors –
    • 8 to LHV – Shane Robinson, Matt McBride, Josh Martin, Rob Brantley, Phil Gosselin, Gift Ngoepe, Lane Adams, and Sean Rodriguez.
    • 1 to REA – Ali Castillo.
  • 7 were released – Jeremy Bleich, Gregorio Petit, Edward Paredes, Andrew Romine, Drew Butera, Trevor Plouffe, and Pedro Beato.

As the beginning of the season neared the Phillies –

  • optioned players – Austin Davis, Ranger Suarez, Enyel De Los Santos, Mitch Walding, Drew Anderson, Dylan Cozens, Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, and Jerad Eickhoff
  • placed on the 10-day injury list – Roman Quinn and Tommy Hunter.
  • traded Lenin Rodriguez to Baltimore for Future Consideration.
  • released s few upper minors players – Drew Stankiewic, Harold Garcia, Emmanuel Marrero, and Blake (all from Reading).


The Phillies conducted their 2020 offseason in a similar fashion.  However, the back end was disrupted by COVID and all transactions including additional acquisitions, assignments, and releases were frozen.


During the 2021 offseason, the Phillies signed 15 minor league free agents. They also –

  • claimed/traded Johan Quezada off waivers,
  • claimed Ian Hamilton off waivers but lost him to waivers,
  • selected/traded Kyle Holder in the during the Rule 5 draft,
  • acquired 4 players in 4 trades – assigned Rodolfo Sanchez to the Complex, assigned Jose Alvarado (Garrett Cleavinger) to the active roster, Sam Coonrod (Carson Ragsdale) to the active roster, and CJ Chatham (PTBNL) who was optioned/released/re-signed/assigned to Reading.
  • acquired 6 MLB free agents – Archie Bradley, JT Realmuto, Matt Moore, Chase Anderson, Didi Gregorious, and Brad Miller), all assigned to the active roster,
  • selected the contracts of 5 players prior to the Rule 5 draft, all were optioned – Bailey Falter, Simon Muzziotti, Francisco Morales, Nick Maton, Damon Jones.

Of the 15 minor league free agents, they signed –

  • 3 were selected for the active roster – Brandon Kintzler, Matt Joyce, and  Ronald Torreyes.
  • 6 were assigned to the minors  –
    • 4 to LHV – Neftali Feliz, Bryan Mitchell, David Paulino, and Travis Jankowski.
    • 2 to CLR – Aneurys Zabala and Mike Adams.
  • 6 were released – Michale Ynoa, Christian Bethancourt, Ivan Nova, Hector Rondon, Jeff Mathis, and Tony Watson.

As the beginning of the season neared the Phillies –

  • designated Victor Arano and Kyle Garlick, both were claimed by Atlanta.
  • optioned/designated/outrighted Kyle Dohy.
  • optioned Mickey Moniak, Christopher Sanchez, Ramon Rosso, Adonis Medina, Mauricio Llovera, Ranger Suarez, Spencer Howard, JoJo Romero, Rafael Marchan, and Scott Kingery.
  • placed Seranthony Dominguez on the 60-day injury list.
  • placed Simon Muzziotti on the restricted list.
  • assigned 27 players to the Training Site – Mickey MoniakNick Maton, Francisco Morales, Christopher Sanchez, Ramon Rosso, Adonis Medina, Mauricio Llovera, Damon Jones, Bailey Falter, Ranger Suarez, Matt Vierling, Odubel Herrera, Luke Williams, Austin Listi, Scott Kingery, Darick Hall, Daniel BritoRafael Marchan, Edgar Cabral, JoJo Romero, David Parkinson, Brian Mitchell, Spencer Howard, JD Hammer, Enyel De Los Santos, Tyler Carr, and Kyle Dohy.


The 2022 offseason was disrupted by the owners’ strike, but acquisitions and disposition remained the same as in previous years except for an increase in acquisition and a decrease in releases.

During the 2022 offseason, the Phillies signed 32 minor league free agents. They also –

  • claimed 4 players off waivers – Scott Moss was outrighted to LHV, Yoan Lopez was lost to waivers, Ryan Sherriff was assigned to the 10-day injury list, Kent Emanuel was assigned to the 60-day injury list,
  • selected Matt Seelinger in the Rule 5 draft (assigned to REA),
  • acquired 6 players in 5 trades  – Garrett Stubbs (Logan Cerny), Nick Nelson and Donny Sands (TJ Rumfield and Joel Valdez), Will Toffey (Luke Williams), McKinley Moore (Adam Haseley), and James Norwood (Kervin Pichardo).  Stubbs and Nelson were added to the active roster, Sands was optioned to LHV, , Toffey was assigned to LHV, Moore was assigned to REA, and Norwood was placed on the bereavement list.
  • acquired 7 MLB free agents – Corey Knebel, Johan Camargo, Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos were assigned to the active roster and Odubel Herrera was  assigned to the 10-day injury list.
  • selected the contracts of 3 of their own minor leaguers (Rule 5 protection), Jhailyn Ortiz, Luis Garcia, James McArthur.  All were optioned.

Of the 32 minor league free agents, they signed –

  • 30 were assigned to the minors –
    • 22 to LHV – Andrew Bellatti, Michael Kelly, Cam Bedrosian, Kyle DohyAli Castillo,  Jake NewberryTyler CyrJoe GattoNick DuronYairo MunozJustin WilliamsJames MarvelDrew MaggiEdgar CabralJohn AndreoliAaron BarrettDillon MaplesAustin WynnsRomald Torreyes, Jorge Bonifacio, Michae Mariot, and  Ricardo Sanchez
    • 7 to REA – Wendell Rijo,Kevin Vicuna, Aldrem Corredor, Josh Ockimey, Tyler Phillips, Bubby Rossman, and Austin Ross.
    • 1 to JS – Karl Ellison.
  • 2 were released – Joe Genord and Cash Case.

As the beginning of the season neared the Phillies (and into the first weekend) –

  • designated Luke Williams for assignment.
  • optioned Nick Maton, Simon Muzziotti, Hans Crouse, Francisco Morales, and Rafael Marchan.
  • placed Rafael Marchan and JoJo Romero on the 60-day injury list.
  • placed Hans Crouse on the 7-day injury list.
  • placed Mickey Moniak and Odubel Herrera on the 10-day injury list.
  • selected the contract of Bryson Stott.
  • recalled Simon Muzziotti.
  • signed FA Roman Quinn and assigned him to LHV.

This section is the point of all the information included above.  I could have saved time and just printed the data below.  But, the instruction received before tests of “show your work”  was too strong to ignore.

Below is the presentation of the acquisition and release of minor leaguers by the start of the season.

2018 2019 2021 2022
MiLB FA Signed 27 16 15 32
Selected/Assigned 20 9 9 30
Released (or retired) 7 7 6 2
% Released 25.9% 43.8% 40.0% 6.3%

This past season saw many more MiLB free agents retained by the Phillies, about a whole roster’s worth, and very few released when compared to past years.  Although it’s true that keeping so many players did restrict the upward movement of many prospects, their presence provided the Phillies with a freedom with personnel that they never really had before this season.

For instance, the Phillies could promote players to the big club without worrying about what happened when they returned them.  They had the luxury of selecting a minor league player and not caring if he was claimed when they designated/outrighted him backto the minors.  They did lose a couple players this way.  But, that was their value to the organization, their expendability.

After the season started, the Phillies continued to be very active in claiming, designating, outrighting, waiving, selecting, optioning, and trading players.

I’ll be paying attention to the number of experienced minor league free agents they sign this offseason and how many of them are released.  It will be interesting to see if the 2022 offseason was an outlier or the beginning of a trend.

These are some of the upcoming important dates for the offseason.

  • November 2-6, 2022: Trading resumes the day after the World Series ends.
  • November 6-10, 2022: Five days after the conclusion of the World Series is the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to their eligible former players who became free agents.
  • November 16-20, 2022: Fifteen days after the conclusion of the World Series is the deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers.
  • November 18 or 21, 2022: Deadline to submit 40-man rosters before Rule 5 Draft
  • December 1, 2022 – Non-tender Deadline – The last day for teams to offer 2023 contracts to unsigned players (pre-arb and arb eligible) on their 40-man rosters.  Non-tendered players become free agents.
  • December 4-11, 2022: The 2022 Baseball Winter Meetings will take place in San Diego, California.
    • December 9, 2022: Rule 5 Draft


3 thoughts on “A Different Approach?

  1. Good point- the other benefit is you give some guys a spin with your new dev staff, and you either find something (Bellatti), or you let them go (Newberry, Singer, etc) when your promising internal players are ready for the next level. That way, no one gets an early promotion based on org need- everyone does what’s best for their dev.

  2. Wondering if this newer philosophy was a brain-child of Sam Fuld…..or if Dombrowski just kept what he had did in the past with the Sox and Tigers and brought it over to his latest organization.
    Though the promos may have been generally overall slower in the quantity of players promoted…their top prospects as listed by MLB.com, they did not hesitate in promoting, ie Rojas, Painter, McGarry, Morales and Miller and surprisingly even one Ethan Wilson, who was slashing a ‘robust’ 238/.290/.344 at Jersey and was promoted to Reading at the end of August.

  3. Will also be interesting to see if it continues or was a product of the lockout where the team wasn’t sure how things would shake out with the compressed ST and the dash to sign FA’s.

    Did they think they might need more injury insurance for the roster so they gobbled up as many veteran minor league players as they could and kept them longer than usual.

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