Trying to upstage the game in Las Vegas, the Phillies added another arm to their growing list of rotation depth pieces, signing Spencer Turnbull to a one-year deal.
Spencer Turnbull to Phillies. MLB contract. $2M plus $2M in incentives— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2024
If you’re wondering why they would give someone like Spencer Turnbull $2 million guaranteed, well, the deal should sound mighty familiar.
Similar to deal Phillies gave Kolby Allard. Turnbull has a minor-league option and Phillies paid big-league money to obtain it. Likely opens in AAA rotation as depth. https://t.co/PNBPe3yB46— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) February 11, 2024
On a team that is as set roster-wise as the Phillies are, adding depth to pitch in the minors isn’t easy. Most pitchers who would take a minor league deal are looking to go somewhere where a job is at least within their grasp should they show success in the minors. In Philadelphia, that pathway isn’t all that accessible right now, which means if the Phillies want it, they have to pay for it.
In Turnbull, they’re not getting someone who is going to blow your doors off when you check out their Baseball Reference page. His 3-17 record in 2019 is particularly unsightly, but everything else about him that year - strikeout rate, walk rate, ERA - were perfectly cromulent. He came back to pitch a no-hitter in 2021, but ended up succumbing to Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2022. When he returned last year, there was some clear rust on his game as the data all shows, but for a depth signing, this is fine.
Going over his Baseball Savant page, there were some gains that were being made prior to his injury. All of his pitches were ticking upwards while a lot of the things in his control (walking hitters, allowing hard contact) were all dropping, signs that improvement was being made. Had he not gotten hurt, one has to wonder if there would have been further gains in his game, but alas, he did get hurt.
This is no more than an upside play. As previously stated, the team had trouble last year grabbing the necessary minor league depth that each team needs. As it looks now, the team’s starting pitching options are getting deeper, if not better.
- Zack Wheeler
- Aaron Nola
- Ranger Suarez
- Taijuan Walker
- Cristopher Sanchez
- Dylan Covey
- Kolby Allard
- Mick Abel
- Nick Nelson
How you decide to rank those final five are up to you, but that kind of depth comes in handy over the course of a 162 game season, especially on a team that is as conservative with their pitching injuries early in a season.