JUNE 26: David Hale has cleared waivers and elected free agency, per the Phillies. Hale is now free to explore an opportunity with any organization.
JUNE 25: The Phillies announced Friday that they’ve designated right-hander David Hale for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for fellow righty Neftali Feliz, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia also placed righty Sam Coonrod on the 10-day injured list due to tendinitis in his right forearm, recalled infielder Nick Maton to fill that roster spot and tabbed righty Enyel De Los Santos as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader.
It’s the first big league action for the now-33-year-old Feliz since 2017. The 2010 American League Rookie of the Year’s career was derailed by arm troubles that began with Tommy John surgery in 2012. That surgery wiped out nearly all of his 2013 campaign, and although Feliz returned with a 1.99 ERA in 2014, his velocity was diminished and his strikeout rate plummeted. Feliz struggled through a dismal 2015 season split between the Rangers and Tigers before enjoying a nice rebound effort with the Pirates in 2016. That bounceback effort, however, was truncated by an arm issue that ended his season in early September.
Feliz latched on with the Brewers on a one-year deal for the 2017 campaign but was hit hard in 27 frames with Milwaukee before being cut loose. The Royals signed him for the remainder of the year and got slightly better results. Feliz signed with the D-backs on a minor league deal that winter, but he was unable to make the team in Spring Training and cut loose at the end of camp. He followed a similar path with the Mariners in 2019.
From 2018-20, Feliz’s only work on the mound came in the Dominican Winter League. His showing there in the 2020-21 season — 3.07 ERA, 22-to-6 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings — was enough for the Phillies to take notice and bring him in on a minor league pact. And his work thus far in Triple-A has certainly been impressive enough to merit a return to the Majors for the first time in nearly four years. Through 14 1/3 frames with Lehigh Valley, Feliz has yielded just a pair of earned runs on eight hits and six walks. He’s punched out 23 of the 58 batters he’s faced so far in Triple-A (39.6 percent).
Turning to the 33-year-old Hale, he never quite found his footing this season. He game the Phils 11 solid frames down the stretch last year, but Hale has surrendered at least one earned run in 10 of his 17 appearances this year and pitched to a 6.41 ERA through 26 2/3 innings of work.
Hale was a viable long relief/spot start option from 2018-20 — mostly with the Yankees, who signed him to a staggering five minor league deals in that time — as he tallied 68 1/3 innings with a 3.56 ERA. Hale has never missed many bats, but he’s generally shown good command and kept the ball on the ground at an above-average clip.
Coonrod, 28, got out to a brilliant start this season but hit a rough patch beginning in mid-May. He’s been tagged for 11 runs over his past nine innings, so it’s perhaps not entirely surprising to see that there’s some degree of an arm issue. Even with that slump, he’s still sporting a respectable 4.18 ERA with a 24.8 percent strikeout rate and an 8.3 percent walk rate.
The 24-year-old Maton returns after a brief stretch in Triple-A. He began his rookie season on an absolute tear in the big leagues, slashing .313/.337/.458 through his first 86 trips to the plate. However, Maton fell into a woeful 0-for-21 slump and lost playing time over the next few weeks, ultimately leading the Phils to send him down for some additional work. He’d never played above the Double-A level prior to the 2021 season.