For the second time in just three days, the Phillies have made a waiver claim for a relief pitcher. This time, the team picked up left hander Kevin Siegrist, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. The team, again, will be responsible for the rest of Siegrist’s salary, which comes out to be about $270,000.
Siegrist was put on waivers by the Cardinals this summer after struggling in the Big Leagues for the first time in his professional career. After being drafted by St. Louis in 2008, Siegrist quickly ascended to the Major Leagues, making his MLB debut in 2013 at the age of 23. 2015-16 were extremely kind to Siegrist, who picked up 13 wins and lost just four games over the two year stretch, in which he compiled 2.17 and 2.77 ERA’s respectfully. In 2015, Siegrist led the Majors with 81 appearances, striking out 90 in 74.2 innings pitched.
This season hasn’t gone as well for Siegrist, who’s seen a spike to nearly 5.00 in his ERA. He’s been limited to appearances in 39 games this season due to a back injury that sidelined him back in June and a forearm injury that put him on the DL in early August.
Despite struggling to match his previous career success, Siegrist brings back end bullpen experience and adds another lefty to the mix to help out Hoby Milner and Adam Morgan. Siegrist is generally a three pitch pitcher, utilizing a four seam fastball, a circle change and knucklecurve. He’ll also mix in a slider, but he uses that infrequently. His fastball clocks in at about 93 miles per hour, with his change up in the mid 80’s and curveball touching as low as 72 miles per hour. Based on his player profile, his strikeout pitch is his curveball, which sharply falls of the table when he uses it correctly.
What entices the Phillies so much to take a chance on Siegrist despite his struggles in 2017 is his contract. At 28-years-old, the lefty is only making $1.6 million this season. At the end of 2017, he’s still arbitration eligible for another two season. Siegrist can’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2020, so the team has some leverage and control on him for the foreseeable future. This move appears to be low risk, high reward. If Siegrist continues to regress, the Phillies can cut ties with him at the end of next year and be no worse off than they are right now. If he returns to his 2015-16 form, the Phillies appear to have gotten a steal for their bullpen. In 2016, he held all hitters to a .190 average, but was particularly sharp against right handed batters. He faced 170 righties last season, and held them to a .178 average.
In order to make room for Siegrist on the 40-man roster, the Phillies have moved starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff to the 60-day disabled list. When a player goes to the long term DL, he does not count against the 40-man roster or the 25-man MLB roster, allowing a team to pick up or call up another player without any pending roster moves. I expected to see the team shut down Eickhoff for the season asfter he recently left a start with nerve irritation. That could be more severe than the team leads on, or they could simply be taking extra caution with their young pitcher. Whichever it may be, Eickhoff’s 2017 season has mercifully come to an end.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports