The Phillies have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Chris Devenski, tweets Matt Gelb of the Athletic. It was a short stay on the open market for the right-hander, who was just released by the Diamondbacks yesterday.
Devenski made ten appearances with Arizona after being selected onto the big league roster in late July. He worked 10 2/3 innings, but allowed nine runs on 14 hits (including a pair of longballs). The plenty of hard contact Devenski surrendered offset his 9:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and the Snakes designated him for assignment over the weekend. He passed unclaimed through waivers but quickly finds another landing spot and an opportunity to pitch his way back to the majors.
While Devenski has spent his last two seasons in the desert, he’s better known for his prior run in Houston. Between 2016-19, he was a multi-inning reliever for the Astros. During the first two of those campaigns, Devenski was among the most valuable bullpen arms in the game. He worked to a 2.38 ERA over 189 innings from 2016-17, striking out an above-average 28.2% of batters faced against a modest 6.4% walk rate. Devenski remained a workhorse later in his Houston tenure, but he had mounting difficulty keeping the ball in the park.
By 2020, he was also battling health issues. He pitched just four times in the shortened season and underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow that September. The following June, he underwent a more significant Tommy John procedure that kept him out through this season’s first half. Devenski’s struggles on the heels of a UCL replacement are alarming, but his average fastball velocity bounced back to the 94 MPH range of his peak after dipping to just above 91 MPH in 2021.
Because he signed prior to September 1, Devenski would be eligible for the Phils postseason roster should they qualify. That’s true even though he won’t immediately step onto the 40-man roster. Players within an organization but not on the 40-man at the start of September can be added to the playoff roster to replace a player on the injured list via petition to the commissioner’s office.