The Phillies have announced that left-hander Sam Clay, whom they designated for assignment on Friday, has been claimed off waivers by the Mets. In order to open a spot on their 40-man roster for Clay, the Mets have designated right-hander Jake Reed for assignment. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was among those who relayed the news on Reed.
It’s been a busy month of July for Clay, who now joins his third organization this month, just ten days in. He started the season with the Nationals, who designated him for assignment on July 1. He was then claimed by the Phillies and designated for assignment yet again three days later, before now landing with the Mets.
Clay was originally a Twins draftee but reached minor league free agency without ever being selected to their 40-man roster. The Nationals decided he was worth a roster spot and signed him to an MLB deal before the 2021 season. Unfortunately, their optimism didn’t translate into results, as Clay put up a 6.02 ERA in 49 1/3 big league innings between last year and this year before being shuffled off the roster.
The Nats aren’t the only teams able to see the potential, however, as evidenced by the Phillies and Mets putting in claims on him over the past few days. Even in that mediocre MLB showing, Clay got ground balls at an excellent 61.8% rate, with the league average usually coming in around 43%. He hasn’t racked up many strikeouts at the big league level so far, with just a 15.6% rate. In the minors, however, he’s often been above 20% and occasionally above 30%. The potential for a lefty reliever who both gets grounders and strikeouts is understandably tantalizing, especially considering most clubs are always a bit short-handed when it comes to southpaw relievers.
The Mets certainly fall into that category, having used only three lefties all season. David Peterson is in the rotation and Chasen Shreve has been released, leaving Joely Rodriguez as the only southpaw in the bullpen. That makes Clay a fairly sensible addition for the club, as they hope he can find better results in Queens than he did in D.C.
Reed, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Rays in August of last year. The Rays had claimed him off waivers from the Dodgers just about a week before that. Between the Dodgers and Mets, he has just 16 1/3 innings of MLB experience with a 6.61 ERA. He’s thrown 13 innings in the minors this season with a 4.85 ERA, 25% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate. The Mets will have one week to trade him, pass him through waivers or release him.