Phillies Add a Lefty Starter
This lefty pitcher was once compared to former Phillies starter Cliff Lee. His delivery, not his numbers, were the basis for this comparison. The Phillies have reportedly added Drew Smyly, the first starting rotation addition the Phillies have seen in some time.
Last night, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that the Phillies were interested in Smyly, who opted out of a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Friday morning, Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported that the Phillies and Smyly did indeed come to agreement on a deal.
The type of deal remains to be seen. It is unclear if the Phillies would be willing to give Smyly an immediate opportunity in their starting rotation, or if he would have to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and prove his ability first. Smyly has struggled in 2018, after being out recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Smyly signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2018 season, though the Cubs were aware he was not going to pitch that season. In 2019, prior to year two, the Cubs traded Smyly to the Texas Rangers, as part of an agreement to keep from opting out of Cole Hamels' final year.
But the Rangers did not get much out of Smyly. Smyly made 13 appearances for the Rangers, including 9 starts. Smyly was 1-5 with an 8.42 earned run average. In three Triple-A starts for the Brewers, Smyly was 1-0 with a 4.97 earned run average.
The Phillies may not be done adding starting pitching and Smyly may or may not make a difference. But it seems clear that the Phillies are well-aware they need to add starting depth. Maybe this is just the beginning, with 12 days left before the July 31 trade deadline.