April 15: Singer has been assigned outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after clearing waivers, the Phillies announced.
April 13: The Phillies announced Wednesday morning that they’ve reinstated right-hander Corey Knebel from the Covid-related injured list and designated left-hander Jeff Singer for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Singer, 28, was just selected to the big league roster yesterday when Knebel landed on the Covid list. Placement on the Covid-related IL is not necessarily indicative of a positive test, as players can also be placed on the list if they are deemed a close contact to a confirmed positive case or if they exhibit symptoms and undergo testing. Knebel was dealing with flu-like symptoms earlier in the week, though it would appear any such concerns have subsided.
For those wondering why Singer was not eligible to be “returned” to the Triple-A roster without needing to pass through waivers — as we saw with Covid replacement players on several occasions in 2021 — MLBTR has confirmed that the 2022 health-and-safety protocols stipulate that waiver-exempt replacement/substitute players can be utilized only if a team “experiences a significant number of Covid-19 IL placements … such that it implicates a club’s ability to field a competitive team.” That threshold is subject to commissioner Rob Manfred’s discretion, but Knebel was a one-off case with the Phillies and thus could not be replaced by a “substitute” player.
Thus, it’ll be a brief one-day call-up to the Majors for Singer, who did not appear in last night’s game. That’s a harsh reality that now comes with the possibility of him changing hands via a small trade or a claim from another club on outright waivers. On the flip side, he just logged his first day of Major League service time and the subsequent prorated pay that comes with it. He’ll continue to accrue Major League service and pay as long as he’s in DFA limbo for anywhere from the next two to seven days.
The 28-year-old Singer has tossed four shutout innings so far for the IronPigs in 2022, though he’s also yielded four walks against just a pair of strikeouts. The Philadelphia native spent the 2021 season in Triple-A as well, pitching to a 4.75 ERA with a 28.2% strikeout rate against a 10.9% walk rate. He’s kept his strikeout rate in the 27-29% range over the past several minor league seasons, albeit without particularly strong walk rates. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, he’d return to Lehigh Valley and remain with the organization, though he’d no longer occupy a spot on the 40-man roster.