The Dodgers have claimed right-hander Evan Phillips off waivers from the Rays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Tampa Bay designated Phillips for assignment over the weekend. The Dodgers later formally announced the claim.
Phillips, 26, came up with a big three-inning save for Tampa Bay over the weekend, helping to spare the bullpen and give some of the rest of the relief corps some needed rest. Baseball is often a numbers game for players on the fringes of 40-man rosters, however, and Phillips was reminded of that when he was designated for assignment the very next day. He’ll now join the Dodgers, who’ll be his third organization of the season in addition to the Rays and the Orioles.
Phillips has shown considerable strikeout potential in past MLB stints with the O’s but has also given up far too many walks to remain effective. From 2019-20, Phillips pitched 42 1/3 frames with the O’s and fanned 28.7 percent of his opponents but also walked about 14.4 percent of them. Between that and a sky-high .398 average on balls in play, he was knocked around for a 5.95 ERA in that time.
This season in Triple-A, Phillips worked to a 5.04 ERA with the Orioles’ top affiliate, but he also whiffed 35 hitters in 25 frames. He was sharp in 3 1/3 Triple-A frames with the Rays and was clearly impressive in his lone MLB appearance of the season so far. He averaged 96 mph on his heater in that brief look with the Rays and has a track record of generating whiffs with a slider that possesses above-average spin rates, too.
Phillips is out of minor league options, so it could potentially be a quick run for him with the Dodgers, too, given their own penchant for frequent turnover on the fringes of the MLB roster, but he’ll first hope for a chance to make any such decisions more difficult for the organization.