Well hey, yesterday gave us some news that made the Phillies spring training camp just a bit more interesting.
Rule 5 pick Noah Song has been discharged from the Navy. He will be in camp tomorrow.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) February 22, 2023
That’s something. Later on, we came to find out that his being discharged from the Navy was not quite accurate.
Last note on Noah Song for today: The Phillies have clarified to say Song was not discharged. He was transferred from active duty to selective reserves and is still serving while being permitted to play professional baseball.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) February 22, 2023
That note is important for those of you who scour the military transactions page looking for who is going into what branch since Song is technically still in the Navy, but they are letting him play some ‘ball this year. Good on them.
Naturally, this got Phillies Twitter all a’flutter. Most of the reactions were of somewhat surprise since it doesn’t look like a lot of people were expecting this to happen so soon. Granted, Song was always seen as being a candidate to play professional baseball at some point, but the Red Sox, the team that left Song exposed in the Rule 5 draft, certainly didn’t seem to think his being able to play any time soon was a possibility.
If 2023 Noah Song looks like 2019 Noah song, then you make it work because 2019 Noah Song is at least the 4th best prospect in the org. But we have no idea what he will be like.— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) February 22, 2023
That becomes the next big question for the team and for Song.
As you are probably aware, Song was selected in the Rule 5 draft this offseason, meaning he has to stay on the 26-man roster all season long or else be offered back to the team that lost him in the first place, the Red Sox being that team. Song’s apparent talent from several years ago, as Matt says, is such that Boston would likely take him back with open arms since they would be able to let him marinate in the minors a while longer should that be appropriate. The Phillies took Song in a shrewd move, thinking he might be still in active duty all season, but now they have to make a decision.
For good or bad, the decision isn’t as easy as it looks. As we’ve noted previously, the Phillies seemingly have a locked up bullpen at this particular moment. The current depth chart looks something like this:
- Seranthony Dominguez
- Jose Alvarado
- Connor Brogdon
- Gregory Soto (not in camp yet due to visa issues)
- Matt Strahm
- Andrew Bellatti
- Craig Kimbrel
- Nick Nelson
If Andrew Painter claims the fifth starter’s spot, Bailey Falter enters the equation as well, meaning Song is, at best, tenth on that list at the moment. Talent wise, he might be higher, but it’s also important to note - he hasn’t throw a pitch competitively in four years! Expecting him to get back to his Golden Spikes candidate ways right away feels like a huge ask.
So how can the team keep him? Well, as shifty as it may be, there is always the phantom injury that could crop up, an elbow issue that forces the team to place him on the injured list, still keeping a spot on the roster, but not bumping anyone else from a job. There is also the chance that he reverts back to 2019 form right away, opening eyes during spring games and forcing the team into making a decision on someone else on the bubble. There is also the far more likely ending where he packs his things and goes back to the Boston organization to continue his quest of pitching in the major leagues. The team could pass him through waivers and keep their fingers crossed, but this is a supremely talented guy. There is almost no way he makes it through waivers without some team offering him mop up innings.
I have no idea how Boston gets him back unless he's cooked, if Philly doesn't have room he would still have to clear Rule 5 waivers before the offer back and it would be absurd for a tanking team to not just claim him and have him throw 60 innings while soaking in the good press— Jarrett Seidler (@jaseidler) February 22, 2023
For now, Song probably becomes the second most intriguing player in Phillies camp today. Painter will get more of the press, but this move with Song will show us how the team values his talent as opposed to the control of other players on the team.