The Orioles have signed lefty Zach Phillips to a one-year deal, announced the team. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, they designated southpaw Chris Jones for assignment. MLBTR has learned that Phillips received a Major League deal worth $510K. Phillips is represented by Matt Colleran.
Phillips, 29, elected free agency last week after the White Sox removed him from their 40-man roster. He has just 15 2/3 innings of big league experience, which came from 2011-13. Last year at Triple-A Charlotte, Phillips posted a 3.13 ERA, 10.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings, allowing just one home run. He spent 2014 with the Hiroshima Carp. The Rangers took Phillips as a draft-and-follow out of Sacramento City College in 2004, trading him to the Orioles in July 2011 for Nick Green. Phillips told reporters including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com this morning, “I’ve always wanted to come back here and I thought it was a great time to. Just being familiar with Baltimore and them giving me a chance. I’ve always liked it here and thought it would be good to come back.”
Phillips “has a good chance to make the Orioles,” writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic. As noted by MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli on Twitter, the Orioles have a potential bullpen opening because of an injury to Brian Matusz. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Matusz has been dealing with a lower back strain and just received a cortisone injection, putting Opening Day in jeopardy. The Orioles kick off their season at home against the Twins on April 4th. Their bullpen should otherwise include Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, Dylan Bundy, and one more reliever from a handful of options.
Jones, 27, put up a 2.94 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.90 HR/9 in 150 Triple-A innings last year. That represented his third career stint at Triple-A. Jones was drafted by the Indians in the 15th round in 2007. He was traded to the Braves in October 2011 for Derek Lowe, and was later shipped to Baltimore for Luis Ayala in April 2013. The O’s released Jones in February 2014 upon signing Nelson Cruz, re-signing the lefty to a minor league deal shortly thereafter. He rejoined Baltimore’s 40-man roster last November, and had been reassigned to minor league camp early last week.