The Phillies needed more space on the 40-man roster, and they found a way to get it. They’ve traded Alec Asher to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later or a small pile of cash.
Asher was on the Rangers before the Phillies, coming to Philadelphia in the storied Cole Hamels trade in 2015, along with Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff, and Matt Harrison. The return for Hamels and Jake Diekman impresses me every time I see it. The Hamels trade could end up shaping the future of the Phillies, but Asher won’t be part of it.
After the trade in 2015, Asher spent the last month of the season in the majors. It was clear pretty much immediately that he wasn’t really ready for that. He started seven games but pitched just 29 innings total, ending the season with a 9.31 ERA. But the Phillies desperately needed rotation help, so it was fine for the season where they narrowly avoided losing 100 games. Also, his hair was hideously bad. We really shouldn’t forget that.
In 2016, Asher was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs. After he served his suspension, he spent the last half of the season down in the minors, starting at Double-A Reading and moving up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he thrived. He spent the month of September in Philadelphia again, and was leaps and bounds better than he was the year before. Five starts, 27.2 innings, four total walks, and a 2.31 ERA. As for 2017, he hadn’t looked that great in spring training thus far, but he was slated to start the season in Triple-A.
It’s sad to say goodbye to a pitcher like Asher presumably because there’s no room on the 40-man roster. Asher had talent, and I’d rather watch him pitch himself out of a spot than see him leave. But in the end, the Phillies have a lot of pitching, and Asher was on the fringe.
PTBNL deals are kind of un-fun, because there’s no one to immediately welcome and learn more about. And in this case, a player may never come over to the Phillies — the Orioles may opt to send over cash instead. (I hope they send it in the shape of a baseball player, just for fun.) So all we can do is bid a fond farewell to Alec Asher, and wish him luck in Baltimore.
Oh, and this.
The legacy of Alec Asher's eyebrows will live on forever, though.— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) March 28, 2017