The Phillies are in agreement with left-hander Kyle Hart on a minor league deal, reports Chris Cotillo of MassLive. The southpaw will presumably receive an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Hart, 30, will join just his second organization, as he was drafted by the Red Sox and has spent his entire career with them up until this point. Working primarily as a starter in the minors, he had a solid showing in 2019, splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A. He made 24 starts and three relief appearances that year between those two levels, tossing 156 innings with a 3.52 ERA, 22% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate.
That season was strong enough that the Sox added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. In 2020, Hart made his major league debut but registered a 15.55 ERA in 11 innings. He was outrighted off the club’s roster in November of that year and has continued pitching in the minors, but not quite reaching that form he showed in 2019. In 2021, he had a 4.22 ERA in 106 2/3 Triple-A innings. Last year, he posted a 5.25 ERA in 82 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
Hart reached free agency for the first time after the 2022 campaign wrapped and has used it to find a new opportunity. The Phillies will see if a change of scenery can help Hart get back on track after a few disappointing years. The club’s rotation will consist of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez and Taijuan Walker, with the final spot open for a battle between guys like Bailey Falter, Christopher Sánchez, Andrew Painter and Mick Abel. In the bullpen, the Phils will have a few lefty options in José Alvarado, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm and Andrew Vasquez. It’s unclear if the Phils view Hart as a starter or reliever exclusively, but he could perhaps provide some depth in either area. If he makes it onto the club’s roster at any point, he still has a couple of option seasons and less than one year of service time.