Nine days after signing Luis Castillo to a minor-league contract following news that Chase Utley would begin the season on the disabled list the Phillies have released the veteran second baseman.
Castillo got off to a slow start after reporting to Phillies camp, but notched two hits Saturday and two hits with a stolen base Tuesday. He appeared to be in line to not only make the roster, but perhaps even start in place of Utley on Opening Day. So much for that.
Because his minor-league deal wasn’t guaranteed the Phillies aren’t out any money and now Castillo is a free agent again, free to sign with any team for any amount with the Mets on the hook for his entire $6 million salary. He’ll probably have to settle for another minor-league deal and prove himself at Triple-A.
Earlier this week Utley offered no timetable for his return and said only that returning before the All-Star break was his goal, but the Phillies are apparently comfortable going with light-hitting utility man Wilson Valdes as their primary second baseman. Josh Barfield is another in-house option if they decide to call him up from Triple-A and Philadelphia also signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor-league deal yesterday.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.