The Phillies are expected to finalize minor league contracts with righty Aaron Barrett and outfielder John Andreoli in the near future, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (Twitter link). Neither deal has been formally announced just yet, though the Barrett indicated on Twitter that he has indeed reached a deal with the Phils.
Barrett, 34, has spent his entire professional career in the Nationals organization prior to inking this deal. The former ninth-round pick was well on his way to solidifying himself as a quality big league reliever in 2014-15, pitching 70 innings of 3.47 ERA ball with a 28.3% strikeout rate and a 9.1% walk rate out of the Nats’ bullpen over that pair of seasons. That’s a strong strikeout rate even by today’s standards, but it was all the more impressive in 2014-15,when the leaguewide rate was about three percentage points lower than present levels.
The 2016 season was a lost one for Barrett, however, as he missed the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery (and having bone spurs removed from his elbow as well). After nearly a year of rehabbing the injury, Barrett suffered a far more gruesome injury in 2017, when he broke the humerus bone in his right arm in a rehab appearance with the Nats’ Triple-A club. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post detailed the scene and the surgery required to repair that injury, which renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews likened to a traumatic injury more akin to one sustained in a severe car crash.
Barrett missed the 2018 season recovering from that surgery but never gave up on his goal of returning to the big leagues. The emotional video of Double-A manager Matt LeCroy informing Barrett that he was going back to the Majors in 2019 went viral (and is still a must-watch for baseball fans who did not see at the time), and Barrett’s similarly emotional return to the mound (video link) was one of the better moments along the way during Washington’s Cinderella run to the 2019 World Series title.
While he’s still only pitched four big league innings since making it back to the show in 2019, Barrett had a strong 2021 season in the minors with the Nats. He again spent considerable time on the injured list but posted a 2.13 ERA through 38 innings across three levels when healthy.
As for the 31-year-old Andreoli, he’s appeared in two big league seasons, seeing time with the Orioles and Mariners in 2018 before a brief seven-game stint with the Padres in 2021. He only has 74 big league plate appearances, during which he’s batted .224/.284/.269. Those have come in scattered and inconsistent fashion, however, and Andreoli has a track record of posting big on-base percentages in the upper minors, as evidenced by a career .258/.373/.414 slash in more than 2600 Triple-A plate appearances. He’s walked in 14.8% of his plate appearances in Triple-A — albeit against a 26% strikeout rate. Andreoli has more than 2000 innings of professional experience at all three outfield positions: 3127 in left field, 2546 in center and 2130 in right.