Phillies have acquired RHP Sam Coonrod from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for RHP Carson Ragsdale. pic.twitter.com/hJoNhahymf— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) January 9, 2021
Let’s first examine the numbers behind Coonrod.
Hm, 9.82 ERA in 2020. Seems like he’ll fit right in. But that FIP stood at a more palatable 4.76, which suggests that there were large amounts of unlucky shenanigans behind his performance. Then you look at 2019 and see the 3.58/5.24 ERA/FIP split and you cringe a little more.
The underlying numbers are pretty shiny, what with a 98.7 mile per hour fastball on average last year, meaning the dude can throw hard. His fastball velocity was in the 97th percentile last year, so that’s cool. A glance at his profile on Baseball Savant and you see a lot of red in the profile, meaning he’s got some good stuff but needs help harnessing it. This feels like a Caleb Cotham project.
Plus, he’s making the league minimum with options and years of control remaining. That is more than likely the motivating factor behind it all.
Now, we cannot move forward discussing Coonrod without discussing his off-field views from last year. Last year, Coonrod was the lone Giant to not kneel during the first game of the season, citing his religion as the reason.
“I meant no ill will by it,” Coonrod told reporters. “I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I’m just a Christian. I believe I can’t kneel before anything but God, Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel if I did kneel I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be a hypocrite...I can’t get on board on a couple of things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean toward Marxism and said some negative things about the nuclear family,” he said.
These comments were divisive at the time and continue to be now. In a moment of unity, a chance to show common decency by acknowledging what his fellow man has been feeling, Coonrod felt the need to expose himself.
It’s likely that the Giants, despite their staff being highly behind the analytical viewpoint of pitching thanks to the leadership of Gabe Kapler, was looking for a reason to get rid of Coonrod. It’s also likely that they have a full roster and simply looked to move someone off of it, saw the Phillies in need of bullpen help and looking for cheap help and decided that the prospect they are receiving is better than Coonrod and what he gives the team.
Regardless, the Phillies continue to look for cheap alternatives to their bullpen and believe they have found one in Coonrod.