Instant analysis: Phillies Sign Two Vets To NRI Deals


The Phillies have added two veterans to the Spring Training fold to see if either has anything left in the tank. The club signed infielder Ryan Flaherty and outfielder Collin Cowgill to minor league deals, each with an invite to Spring Training.

Flaherty has spent his entire six year Major League career with the Baltimore Orioles after being drafted 41st overall in the 2008 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs. Flaherty was picked up by Baltimore in 2011 via the Rule 5 Draft and made his Major League debut the following April. He’s served primarily as a bench and utility player in his professional career, never appearing in more than 102 games in a season. His best statistical year came in 2013, when the lefty hit .224 with 10 homeruns and 27 RBIs in 246 at-bats. Flaherty holds a career .215/.284/.355 slash line through 452 games played. His best shot at making the club is a strong spring, mixed with his ability to play so many different positions. Over the course of his Major League career, Flaherty has played seven of the eight every day position, having done everything but catch a game in the big leagues. At 30-years-old, Flaherty was limited to just 23 Major League games in 2017 due to a shoulder injury.

Collin Cowgill joins the Spring Training fray hoping to make his sixth different Major League roster in his seventh year in the big leagues. Cowgill was originally drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 27th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, but did not sign with the club. He instead returned to the Uiversity of Kentucky for one more season before being drafted again in the 2008 draft, this time in the fifth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. After three years in the minor leagues, Cowgill made his Major League debut with the Diamondbacks in 2011. He appeared in 36 games, grabbing 92 at-bats. He hit .239 over that stretch with a homerun and nine RBIs. That offseason, Cowgill was traded, along with Ryan Cook and Jarrod Parker, to the Oakland A’s for Craig Breslow and Trevor Cahill.

Cowgill played one season for the A’s in 2012, posting his best career numbers. He hit .269 with a .339 on base percentage in 38 games for Oakland. That offseason, Cowgill was once again traded, this time to the New York Mets for Jeffrey Marte. His Mets career lasted just 23 games as Cowgill continued to live out of a suitcase when he was traded from the Mets to the Los Angeles Angels for Kyle Johnson.

That offseason, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians. In 2016, Cowgill played in just nine games for the Indians, primarily playing for the Indians’ AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. There he hit .234 in over 400 at bats, driving in just 30 runs. He was designated for assignment in early September and elected free agency instead of the minor league deal the Indians had offered.

In 2017, Cowgill signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres that included an invite to Spring Training. He never made the Major League team. The Padres released Cowgill midway through August.

While neither of these two signees are mindblowing by any means, they do provide the Phillies with necessary depth come split squad games. I’d be shocked if either make the Opening Day roster, but than again, I said the same about Daniel Nava prior to last year’s Spring Training. With more talent on the 25-man roster this season, though, it’ll take some stellar play from either Cowgill or Flaherty to make the team out of camp.


Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports