5:28pm: Nelson is indeed pursuing an opportunity with another team, but it is with a major league organization rather than a KBO club, MLBTR has learned. Nelson has agreed to a minor league pact with an unknown team after being released by the Phillies for that reason.
3:25pm: Nelson was indeed released to pursue an opportunity in Korea, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). It’s unclear at this point which team is interested in Nelson or if he’s received interest from multiple clubs.
10:39am: The Phillies announced that they’ve released infielder Chris Nelson from his Minor League contract. It’s unclear whether the utility infielder requested his release due to an opt-out clause, but he’ll now be free to pursue other opportunities.
Nelson, 29, was the ninth overall draft pick by the Rockies in 2004. He’s seen a fair share of Major League action in each of the past four seasons, averaging 218 plate appearances per year between the Rox, Angels, Yankees and Padres. In that time Nelson has batted .265/.311/.391, with much of his success coming in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 with Colorado. A good deal of that success was driven by his batting average on balls in play and the positive effects of Coors Field, however, and he’s yet to recreate that level of productivity since.
Nelson has experience at second base, third base and shortstop in the Major Leagues, though defensive metrics aren’t particularly high on his work at any of the three. Nonetheless, there’s value in that versatility, and he’s a career .307/.362/.473 hitter in Triple-A that had relatively solid marks in a small sample this season, so one would imagine that he could draw interest from another big league team or, perhaps, a club in Japan or Korea.
While the Phillies don’t appear to have room for him at the Major League level as an infielder, you’d think they’d try to get him to play the OF where he could find an avenue back to the Majors. Nelson isn’t a bad little hitter and can spell people all around the infield. If he can pick up an OF glove he just might get a shot with somebody else.
The Phillies don’t have any room for him, they’re already stacked with quality OF like Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francoeur, and Dom Brown once he returns. Now if Michael Martinez was available, then maybe I’d be interested…
confirmed, but a minor league one.
Nelson stole home a few years back, don’t get to see that very often.