The Phillies sent six players to triple A on Thursday, trimming their roster ahead of an expected roster freeze that would restrict player movement while MLB continues to wait out the coronavirus pandemic.
Outfielders Kyle Garlick and Nick Williams, left-handers Austin Davis and Cole Irvin, and right-handers Reggie McClain and Edgar Garcia were optioned to Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies were one of few teams that had yet to make a transaction since spring training was canceled earlier this month. MLB and the players’ union are working on an agreement about player compensation during the shutdown.
Under normal rules, Thursday’s transaction would disqualify the six players from making the opening day roster because pitchers must spend 15 days of the season in the minors after being optioned and position players have to spend 10 days before they can be recalled. But MLB plans to waive that rule for any player who was optioned before the roster freeze goes into effect.
Garlick, acquired early in camp in a trade with the Dodgers, had a solid spring and likely would have made the team if the season started on time. Instead, Andrew McCutchen should be ready for opening day, complicating Garlick’s status.
McClain and Garcia were competing in spring for bullpen roles while Williams, Davis, and Irvin were projected to begin the season with the IronPigs.
The Phillies also have not made a decision on the non-roster players such as Josh Harrison, Neil Walker, and Francisco Liriano who could have opted out of their contract during spring training.
It was hard for the Phillies to guarantee them a spot on the opening-day roster without knowing when the season would start and it would have been even harder for those players to opt-out and latch on with a different team while camps were closed.