The Phillies announced that left-hander Kent Emanuel has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To create room on the 40-man roster, fellow lefty Sam Clay has been designated for assignment.
Drafted by the Twins in the fourth round in 2014, Clay eventually reached minor league free agency at the end of the 2020 season without ever getting selected to the big league team. However, the Nationals liked him enough that they gave him a major league deal a couple of weeks later.
The Nats were likely hoping for better results than they got, as Clay put up a 5.60 ERA over 45 MLB innings last year. That came with a 15.9% strikeout rate and 10.3% walk rate, both of those numbers being worse than typical averages and Clay’s own track record in the minors. He did continue inducing ground balls, though, getting them at a 60.1% rate.
This year, it’s been a mixed bag for the 29-year-old, as he has a bloated 10.38 ERA in the big leagues, but in a tiny sample of just 4 1/3 innings. In 20 1/3 Triple-A frames, it’s a 3.10 ERA with a 64.5% ground ball rate, 21.7% strikeout rate and 7.6% walk rate.
This is the second DFA for Clay in the past week, as he was just cut from Washington’s roster and claimed by the Phillies in recent days. The Phillies likely knew that Emanuel was nearing a return from the injured list, making it possible that they claimed Clay with the express purpose of trying to pass him through waivers and retaining his services but without him taking up a roster spot. Regardless of their intentions, they will have one week to work out a trade, pass Clay through waivers or release him.