The Phillies announced on Thursday that they’ve designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster for outfielder Michael Saunders, whose one-year deal with the team is now official.
Gonzalez, 24, has spent parts of the past two seasons in Philadelphia but has been unable to replicate his minor league results at the Major League level. The Panamanian hurler has pitched to a 6.68 ERA in 66 big league innings, though his 8.5 K/9 rate and 1.9 BB/9 rate are both impressive. Gonzalez has never missed that many bats over a much larger sample of work in the minors, though, and as an extreme fly-ball pitcher spending half his games in the cozy confines of Citizens Bank Park, he’s been particularly susceptible to the long ball (career 1.9 HR/9).
In the minors, excellent control has long been Gonzalez’s calling card. He’s averaged just 1.5 walks per nine innings pitched since being signed as an amateur back in 2011, and he turned in a very nice year between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016. Across those two levels last year, Gonzalez posted a 3.13 ERA with a 35-to-8 K/BB ratio in 36 innings, with all but one of his appearances coming out of the bullpen. That marked a change for Gonzalez, who worked exclusively as a starting pitcher in both 2014 and 2015.
Gonzalez does have a minor league option remaining, so if he lands on another club — be it by trade or by waiver claim — that team can stash him in the minor leagues without having to first expose him to outright waivers.