Dec. 15: Bedrosian’s contract was actually agreed to on Dec. 1 but only formally announced by the team this week, MLBTR has learned. That explains any confusion surrounding how the deal was possible, as Bedrosian otherwise appeared ineligible to sign during the lockout by virtue of the fact that he ended the 2021 season on the Phillies’ Major League roster.
Dec. 14: The Phillies announced this evening that they’ve signed six players — all right-handed pitchers — to minor league contracts with invitations to big league Spring Training. Joining the organization are Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bellatti, Jake Newberry, Joe Gatto, Tyler Cyr and Michael Kelly.
Bedrosian is the best-known of the group. He emerged as a high-leverage arm early in his career with the Angels, a stint highlighted by a brilliant 2016 campaign in which he pitched to a 1.12 ERA across 40 1/3 innings. Bedrosian remained in Anaheim through the end of 2020, but his formerly strong strikeout rate has dropped in recent seasons. That has come in conjunction with a downturn in fastball velocity from the 95-96 MPH range to around 92-93 over the past couple years.
The 2021 season was a struggle for Bedrosian, who split the year between the Reds, A’s and Phils. He combined to work 25 innings over 26 outings, posting a 5.04 ERA/5.27 SIERA. Bedrosian’s 19.8% strikeout percentage was a few points below the league average, while his 14.7% walk rate was a career-high. Still, the 30-year-old made a strong enough impression during a late-season run in Philadelphia to get another opportunity to crack the big league bullpen out of Spring Training. (As an interesting historical footnote, Bedrosian’s father Steve Bedrosian won the 1987 NL Cy Young Award in Philadelphia after saving a league-best 40 games).
Bellatti has appeared in two MLB seasons, six years apart. After working 23 1/3 innings of relief with the Rays in 2015, Bellatti bounced around between various high minors and independent clubs without getting a return opportunity in the majors. His long-awaited break came this past July, when he cracked the Marlins’ MLB roster.
The 30-year-old bounced on and off the Miami roster a few times down the stretch, averaging 94.3 MPH on his heater over a three-game cameo. He spent the bulk of the season with their top affiliate in Jacksonville, where he posted an impressive 1.52 ERA over 29 2/3 frames. Bellatti punched out a lofty 33% of opponents at the minors’ top level while walking a decent 8.7% of batters faced. He was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected minor league free agency at the end of the season.
Newberry is the other of the Phils’ newcomers with MLB experience. The 27-year-old has suited up with the Royals in each of the past four campaigns. He’s tallied 70 2/3 cumulative innings over 65 relief outings, pitching to a 4.84 ERA with worse than average strikeout and walk numbers (21.9% and 12.7%, respectively). Newberry, who became a minor league free agent at season’s end after being outrighted off the Kansas City roster, has a 4.06 ERA in parts of four Triple-A seasons.
None of Gatto, Cyr nor Kelly has pitched in the big leagues, although Gatto and Kelly have been a part of clubs’ 40-man rosters in the past. Gatto, 26, split the 2021 season between the Rangers’ top two affiliates. He posted a 3.32 ERA with solid strikeout and walk rates (29.2% and 8.1%, respectively) but never got a big league look in Texas. Cyr, 28, has spent his entire career in the Giants’ system, topping out at Triple-A, where he owns a 4.66 ERA. Kelly, 29, has pitched in the Padres, Orioles and Astros systems. He has a 4.76 ERA over four seasons at the minors’ highest level.