The Phillies took a step toward relieving their bullpen logjam Saturday afternoon by trading right-handed reliever Michael Schwimer to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league first baseman Art Charles.
The 27 year old Schwimer appeared in 35 games with the Phils last season, more than any reliever other than Jonathan Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo, posting a 4.46 ERA and averaging better than a strikeout per inning. He was particularly effective over a 23 game stretch between June 10 and August 11, pitching to a 1.93 ERA over 23.1 innings during that period with 30 strikeouts against just nine walks. But three rocky appearances later in August preceded a demotion to the minors, and Schwimer got crosswise with the Phillies' front office when he claimed to be injured.
He wasn't recalled when rosters expanded in September, and in a recent Inquirer article hinted that he still might file a grievance. Earlier in the year, he'd annoyed the brass by tweeting about a series of imminent player moves before the team made an official announcement. Long-time followers of the Phillies' minor-league system might remember Schwimer's insightful guest posts on the Phuture Phillies site.
Charles is a 22 year old first baseman who hasn't yet appeared above low A. He dominated rookie ball last year and hit reasonably well upon promotion to a full-season league, posting a .236/.310/.496 line with 7 homers--and 41 strikeouts--in 142 plate appearances. TGPer joecatz notes that Charles was a two-way player in high school who attracted some pre-draft attention as a pitcher before Toronto took him in the 20th round of the 2010 draft.