Earlier this month the Phillies reached an agreement with Dennys Reyes. It fell apart following Reyes’ physical, however, leaving the Phils in need of a lefty reliever. At the time J.C. Romero said he hoped it gave him a chance to stay in Philly. It did: the Phillies signed him to a one-year deal. Terms not disclosed, but you have to figure that it’s somewhere around the $1.1 million that Reyes was going to get.
Romero had been given the kiss-off by Philly after the season, with the team understandably declining to exercise his $4.5 million option following a year in which his walks were up and innings way down. He remains effective against lefties, however, so he’ll have a niche in Charlie Manuel’s bullpen.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.