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Phillies Designate Cody Asche for Assignment, Finally

The team cut ties with the defensively-challenged, offensively-mediocre Asche to make room for a thrice DFA’d reliever.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins
Cody Asche throwing a baseball generally in the direction of first base.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies announced Friday afternoon that they have designated Cody Asche for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster after claiming relief pitcher David Rollins from the Texas Rangers. Thus ends the weird, but not quite “Darin Ruf weird,” era of Cody Asche.

We will not miss Asche much around these parts. For at least two years now, his taking a valuable 40-man roster spot has been hard to justify. He can’t serve as a defensive replacement at any position on the diamond and lacks the offense to make up for it. For his four years as a Phillies, Asche has made over 1200 trips to the plate and posted a .240/.298/.350 batting line. His hitting has actually gotten worse over the last three seasons, so it’s not like he was just getting the hang of this hitting thing.

When the Phillies began transitioning Asche to outfield two offseasons ago, there was some hope that he could develop into a somewhat valuable utility player with passable defense at three positions and average offense. Neither side of that equation materialized. It’s telling that the Phillies referred to Asche in their press release as an outfielder. Not even a “slash third baseman” there. That is a clear indication that the team had abandoned any hope of him being anything other than a corner outfielder. As far as his ability at that position, well, we’ve all seen him play it. At third base, he was a pasta diver; in the outfield, he seemed to be running the wrong direction more often than not. Outlook: not so good.

While his departure is far from a surprise, I would have thought it would have taken a more compelling player than Rollins to usher him out. The Phillies will be Rollins’ fourth organization in the last two weeks. On November 18, he was claimed by the Chicago Cubs from the Seattle Mariners. Four days later, the Texas Rangers claimed him from the Cubs. Now, he’s—at least nominally—with the Phillies. He’d be wise to keep his bags packed for the time being.

In Rollins, the Phillies now have added a second left-handed reliever to the roster. He’ll join the ranks of Joely Rodriguez in that designation. He will not be the last lefty bullpen arm the Phillies bring into the fold in the next couple months as they’ll likely want to take a look at a couple before the season starts. There’s not much in Rollins’ resume to suggest that he’ll be a positive contributory to the Phillies either in 2017 or beyond. In 34.1 innings over the last two seasons, he has a 7.60 ERA without the strikeout numbers (16.4 percent) to suggest there’s much promise lurking below that ERA.

In the minor leagues, Rollins has shown some ability to be an effective reliever, with a career 3.35 ERA and more encouraging strikeout numbers. He features an arsenal that includes a fastball that sits 91-92 mph, a slider, and a changeup. The best case scenario seems to be as a LOOGY. He’ll turn 27 this month.