The Phillies announced Friday that they’ve claimed lefty Kent Emanuel off waivers from the Astros and selected the contracts of three minor leaguers: infielder Luis Garcia, outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz and righty James McArthur. The Phils now have 36 players on their 40-man roster, and all of today’s additions are protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
Emanuel, 29, is a 2013 third-rounder who’d pitched to a 2.55 ERA with a 13-to-4K / BB ratio through his first 17 2/3 MLB innings. However, I have underwent a primary repair surgery on his left elbow back in June and missed the remainder of the season. Based on past primary repair cases, Emanuel could be reacy early in the 2022 season. That Emanuel’s debut campaign came at age 28 is in part due to the fact that a previous Tommy John surgery wiped out a good chunk of his 2015-16 campaigns.
Emanuel has also missed time with an 80-game PED suspension, though he’s among the growing number of players to raise issue following a positive test of trace amounts of DHCMT (seven picograms, in his case). The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond explored the issue at length last year, and Emanuel himself posted an 11-minute video on Instagram discussing his bewilderment over the positive test. Many fans will be skeptical of any player claiming innocence following a positive PED test, but it’s certainly worth reading Diamond’s column and watching Emanuel’s video for those who didn’t track the story at the time.
Garcia, 21, ranked on the back end of Baseball America’s Top 100 list in the 2018-19 offseason but saw his stock crater after he posted a .516 OPS in 2019. After a lost minor league season in 2020, the switch-hitter bounced back to some extent in 2021, slashing .243/.353/.414 across two Class-A levels.
Ortiz was a headlining international signing by the Phillies back in 2015, landing a $4MM bonus on the strength of his plus raw power. Now 23 years of age, Ortiz slugged 19 long balls in just 303 plate appearances with Class-A Advanced before scuffling mightily in a tiny sample of 88 Double-A plate appearances. The Phils, not wanting to lose a slugger who’s received 70 grades on his raw power (on the 20-80 scale), will dedicate a 40-man spot to keep him.
McArthur, a 2018 12th-rounder, spent most of the season in Double-A, where he pitched to a 4.48 ERA with a 24.4% strikeout rate, 7.2% walk rate and 48.3% ground-ball rate. FanGraphs gives him a chance at three above-average pitches but feels there’s a good bit of work left to be done in terms of his command. With 78 innings of respectable Double-A work under his belt, McArthur could be in the mix for a big league look at some point in 2022, should injuries necessitate a dip into the upper levels of the farm system.