UPDATE: the team continues to add some catching depth.
The Phillies have acquired catcher Garrett Stubbs from the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Logan Cerny, President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski announced tonight.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) November 20, 2021
Stubbs hasn’t hit much in the majors, but he does give the team some more catching depth in the upper minors that can be helpful, particularly if they are even considering trading Rafael Marchan.
In an effort to try and continue to add depth to the roster, the Phillies made a series of moves today. First, they added some names their 40-man roster.
The Phillies have selected the contracts of INF Luis García, RHP James McArthur and OF Jhailyn Ortiz to the 40-man roster, and have claimed LHP Kent Emanuel off waivers from HOU. PHI is at 36 players on the 40-man roster.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) November 19, 2021
Garcia has been one of the team’s better prospects for a few years now. He struggled a bit in 2019, but repeating 2021 at the same level (and with some added good weight) meant that his numbers were better. Adding 60 points of slugging while also improving his walk rate and strikeout rate is the type of development the team was looking for.
Ortiz had a big power year, topping .500 slugging percentage for a full season team for the first time. That power, plus his promotion to Double-A Reading, meant that he was likely going to be scooped up in the Rule 5 draft, so adding him to the 40-man makes some sense.
McArthur is another prospect who made it to Reading and on a team that doesn’t have a lot of solid pitching depth in the upper minors, adding him also makes a lot of sense.
Shifting to the waiver claim, Kent Emanuel looks like someone from the Ryan Sherrif mold of waiver claims - adding upper level left handed pitching is never a bad idea. Emanuel doesn’t strike out a ton of people, but he keeps the ball on the ground and in the ballpark, two things the Phillies need more of. Did I mention he’s left handed?
After those deals were announced, the team came through with another deal, this time a trade with the Yankees.
The Phillies have acquired RHP Nick Nelson and C Donny Sands from the New York Yankees in exchange for LHP Joel Valdez and 1B T.J. Rumfield.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) November 19, 2021
The bigger of the two adds is Nelson. Last year in New York, Nelson threw 14 1⁄3 innings, a small sample size to be sure, but one that shows a few things. First, he throws hard. His 96.4 average mile an hour fastball will fit well on a team that is surely looking like they have a type they look for in waiver claims and bottom of the roster trades. The ERA near 9 is pretty ugly, but the 28.2 K% is nice (don’t look at the walk rate; you’ll have a nightmare). The peripherals he shows all feel very Coonrod-esque, something the Phillies were successful in turning into a solid reliever. If they can do it again with Nelson, they will have another project they turned into a productive arm.
Sands is nothing to sneeze at either. He was pretty good across two levels of minor leagues last year (.261/.326/.466, 18 HR, 56 RBI) are good numbers for a catcher. His defense was also quite good, ranking among the top performers in Triple-A according to Baseball Prospectus’ catcher statistics. He could prove useful is the team decides to move Rafael Marchan in a deal, or if they simply prefer to keep Marchan in the Triple-A for a while. He also gives them some depth at the catcher position that still has a bit of upside to him.
From the surface, these look like some solid depth moves for the team. We’ll see how they affect the rest of the offseason planning.