If you’re like me, you were waiting, holding your breath and hoping that a deal would happen between MLB and the player’s association until the very last moments before realizing that hope is a dangerous thing and sadly turning in for the night.
Or you were in bed.
Either way, it’s possible that you missed that the Phillies made a small move to help with their depth on the roster.
The Phillies have signed switch-hitting INF Johan Camargo to a one-year contract, President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski announced tonight.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) December 2, 2021
Welcome to Philly, Johan! pic.twitter.com/xtRsT5X0zV
In order to make room for Camargo on a full 40-man roster, the team subsequently designated Adonis Medina for assignment. We’ll get to that in a second.
Camargo is one of those under-the-radar signings that could have some tangible benefits to the team in 2022. He can play all over the place, having logged innings at every infield position and both the corner outfield positions as recently as 2019. The past two seasons, he has seen little playing time, some because of the pandemic, some because of the emergence of other players in Atlanta that demanded more playing time. Once Austin Riley turned himself into a fringe MVP candidate, Camargo’s hope for playing time almost evaporated.
Still, he can be useful to this team. While in Gwinnett last year, Atlanta’s Triple-A team, he put up a slash line of .326/.401/.557 while spending most of his time alternating between first and third base. He still has a minor league option left, so the team can stash him in Lehigh Valley if they need to, but this move can be seen as Alec Bohm insurance as well. Last year when Bohm struggled, the team was forced to play Ronald Torreyes too much at the hot corner. He was good with the glove, but offered next to nothing with his bat. Camargo represents someone who can take over at third in case Bohm struggles and not be a black hole offensively. Should Bohm regain his top prospect status, Camargo, if he should stay with the big league team, can move all around the field, helping with platoons and the like. If the DH is in play, he can also occupy third base while Bohm becomes a DH on some days. In basic terms, having a player that can play that many positions all while giving the team offensive production means that there are options for Joe Girardi to play with.
In the case of Medina, it closes the book on a sad time. For such a long time, Medina felt like a top prospect that wasn’t really a top prospect. He had the stuff, but could never move fast enough to help the Phillies at the big league level. There was the rumor that they almost had him traded for Manny Machado back in 2018, but that deal never came to fruition. Instead, he always seemed to be skipped over when the team needed an arm to come up to Philadelphia, never quite living up to his prospect status. He’ll likely catch on somewhere once the transaction freeze is over.
For Camargo, it’s a good, depth-minded signing that can pay some dividends to the Phillies. As long as he doesn’t crater, he should be a good bench piece that could provide something more.