The Phillies have acquired minor league infielder C.J. Chatham from the Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later, per announcements from both teams. Right-hander Victor Arano has been designated for assignment in order to clear a roster spot, the Phillies added. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reported (via Twitter) that Chatham was likely headed to Philadelphia just prior to the announcement.
Chatham, 26, was the Red Sox’ second-round pick back in 2016, during Dave Dombrowski’s time as the team’s president of baseball operations. It seems as though Dombrowski, now heading up the Phillies’ baseball ops department, is still a firm believer in Chatham’s skill set. Chatham has yet to make his big league debut but spent the 2020 season at Boston’s alternate training site, where he continued to build on a solid 2019 showing in the upper minors. In 467 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A that year, Chatham hit .298/.333/.408 while logging time at both middle infield positions.
Both Baseball America and MLB.com ranked Chatham 14th among Boston farmhands this past summer. BA tabs him as at least a bench piece in the Majors and perhaps even a passable regular option at second base. Chatham has fanned in just 18.2 percent of his minor league plate appearances and has an all-fields, contact-oriented approach at the plate due to a lack of power, per those scouting reports. He’s a versatile defender who could handle any infield spot, and Chatham still has a pair of minor league options remaining, which gives the Phils some flexible depth for the next couple of seasons.
From Boston’s vantage point, a roster spot was needed to make Martin Perez’s new one-year deal with the team official. The Sox have yet to announce the Perez signing, but that’ll happen once he passes a physical.
As for the 25-year-old Arano (26 next month), he spent the 2020 season in the Phillies’ 60-man player pool but didn’t make it to the Majors. Arano was limited to just three appearances in 2019 due to elbow surgery, and he missed a chunk of the 2018 campaign due to shoulder issues — rotator cuff inflammation, more specifically. He made his big league debut back in 2017 but has still managed to tally just 74 1/3 frames, in large part because of injury.
Of course, Arano has also been impressive when he’s been healthy enough to take the hill. In those 74 2/3 innings, he boasts a 2.65 ERA and 3.38 SIERA. He’s also punched out 26.3 percent of the hitters he’s faced and walked a very manageable 7.6 percent of opponents. Arano is a fly-ball pitcher with average fastball velocity (93.6 mph) who leans heavily on his slider that has helped him to post an impressive 16.6 percent swinging-strike rate in his young career. The Phils have a week to trade Arano, release him or place him on outright waivers.