Phillies Claim Jerome Williams off of Waivers
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the Phillies claimed pitcher Jerome Williams off of waivers from the Texas Rangers. Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Phillies are sending $20,000 to the Rangers as compensation. To make room for Williams on the roster, the club designated Sean O’Sullivan for assignment. Williams is expected to start Tuesday.
As far as roster moves go, this one is pretty inconsequential; a rearranging of the deck chairs, if you will. O’Sullivan struggled last Thursday against the Astros, making an emergency start when the Phillies traded Roberto Hernandez — that night’s starter — to the Dodgers earlier in the day. It was O’Sullivan’s second start for the Phillies this season, and neither of them went well. Overall, he allowed nine runs on 15 hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven in 11 2/3 innings.
Williams, 32, is a journeyman pitcher joining his third organization in six weeks. He started the season with the Astros, and posted a 6.04 ERA with a 38/16 K/BB ratio in 47 2/3 innings across 26 appearances, all in relief. The Astros released him on July 8, and the Rangers picked him up a few days later. In two starts spanning 10 innings for the Rangers, Williams allowed 11 runs on 18 hits and three walks while striking out six. He is a nine-year veteran with a career 4.43 xFIP across 834 innings.
Williams will likely perform poorly for the Phillies, but claiming pitchers like him on waivers is what the Phillies should be doing at this point. If they’re lucky, they’ll be able to move A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick before the month is out, and they can pick up more detritus off of the waiver wire or through free agency to soak up the remaining starts.
The Phillies are thin on starting pitching depth at Triple-A. Remaining options include Greg Smith and Brad Lincoln. O’Sullivan could wind up back in the organization, as he did earlier in the season after he was designated for assignment. Adam Loewen has been pitching well at Double-A Reading and could also merit consideration. But any way you look at it, any remaining starts that need to be taken will be taken by a less-than-palatable option.
This will become familiar once the Phillies truly begin their rebuild. If Kendrick and Burnett aren’t moved by the end of August, then Kendrick goes into free agency and the Phillies will heavily shop Burnett and Cole Hamels in the off-season. If and when both are moved, the Phillies’ rotation would be led by… David Buchanan. GM Ruben Amaro will have to go into free agency and sign a few arms to soak up the innings, but they’re more likely to be of the Kevin Correia variety than Max Scherzer. Get used to seeing detritus in the Phillies’ rotation, it’s going to be a long two years at least.