The Phillies announced a series of roster moves today, adding infielder Rodolfo Castro and right-hander Michael Lorenzen to the roster, both of whom were acquired in trades yesterday. To open one roster spot, Josh Harrison was designated for assignment, as reported yesterday. He has now been released. The other spot was opened by left-hander Andrew Vasquez being designated for assignment.
Vasquez, 29, came to the Phillies in the offseason when they claimed him off waivers from the Giants. He is out of options but has managed to stick on the active roster for the entire season up until now. He’s tossed 39 2/3 innings over 30 appearances with a 2.27 ERA.
On the surface, that makes it somewhat surprising that he’s now lost his roster spot, but the numbers under the hood aren’t quite as impressive. His 8.2% walk rate and 43% ground ball rate are pretty close to league average, but his 20% strikeout rate is a few ticks below. He’s benefitted from a .274 batting average on balls in play and 86.8% strand rate, both of which are on the lucky side, leading to a 4.31 FIP and 4.29 SIERA.
The Phillies were apparently expecting some regression and have bumped him off the roster. Since he’s out of options and the trade deadline has passed, that left them little choice but to designate him for assignment and try to pass him through waivers. In the event he clears, he will have the right to elect free agency since he has a previous career outright. Despite his out-of-options status, he could garner interest from a club with more ability to keep him on the active roster. He has a career 3.60 ERA in 52 appearances and comes with five seasons of control beyond the current campaign.
As for Harrison, he’s making a $2MM salary this year and has played poorly, hitting just .204/.263/.291. He wasn’t going to be claimed off waivers and has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment while retaining all of his salary. That means his return to the open market was inevitable and the Phils have simply skipped the formalities. He’ll be free to sign with the other 29 clubs for the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the roster, with that amount subtracted from what the Phillies pay.