VETERAN RELIEVER Justin De Fratus and starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone were among seven players the Phillies outrighted off their roster yesterday afternoon.
De Fratus and Pettibone were the only homegrown players among the seven with whom the team cut ties. The others outrighted were infielder Chase d'Arnaud, outfielder Jordan Danks, catcher Erik Kratz and lefthanders Ken Roberts and Adam Loewen.
De Fratus, Loewen and Kratz - all eligible for salary arbitration this winter - can immediately become free agents. Pettibone and Danks can file with the rest of baseball's soon-to-be free agents five days after the World Series.
De Fratus, who turns 28 later this month, is a mild surprise among the seven names. The Phillies' 11th-round selection in the 2007 draft, the Southern California native quickly climbed through the farm system and established himself as one of a talented group of promising young relievers the team hoped to build its bullpen around within the last three years.
But after sporting a 2.39 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 2014, his second full season in the Phillies bullpen, De Fratus struggled out of the gate in 2015 and never was able to establish any consistency.
De Fratus' 5.51 ERA was the highest in the major leagues among the 79 relievers who pitched at least 60 innings in 2015. Among that same group, teammate Luis Garcia (1.64) was the only one with a higher WHIP than De Fratus' 1.55.
Garcia, Jeanmar Gomez and Elvis Araujo were among the relievers to leapfrog over De Fratus as mid- to late-inning relief options in the Phillies' bullpen. De Fratus made the transition to long man under former manager Ryne Sandberg and wasn't able to escape that role when Pete Mackanin took over.
Pettibone, 25, meanwhile, wasn't ever able to return to form following shoulder surgery in June 2014. Pettibone, a third-round pick in the 2008 draft, went 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts in 2013.
Pettibone was activated off the 60-day DL yesterday and then outrighted.
The Phillies have 34 players on their 40-man roster, but more spots will open within the next month. Veterans Jeff Francoeur, Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang are set to become free agents, along with Cliff Lee and Chad Billingsley, who both ended the season on the 60-day DL.
Interim general manager Scott Proefrock announced a week before the season ended that the Phillies would not pick up the $27.5 million club option on Lee's contract. Instead, the Phils will pay Lee, who pitched in 13 games in the last two seasons, a $12.5 million buyout.
Lee, 37, who signed a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010, declined to have surgery last spring and will likely retire.