On Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Rangers acquired utility man Nick Green and cash considerations from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for left-handed pitcher Zach Phillips. Both players have been in Triple-A all season––Green with the Norfolk Tides and Phillips with the Round Rock Express.
Phillips, 24, had been designated for assignment last Thursday as the Rangers cleared 40-man roster space in order to activate pitcher Scott Feldman from the 60-day disabled list. A former draft-and-follow signing, Phillips was the Rangers' 23rd round pick in the 2004 MLB Draft and inked with the club prior to the draft the following year.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound pitcher worked through the lower levels as a starting pitcher between '05 and '08 before moving to the bullpen in '09. Then, between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco, Phillips experienced his breakout as a prospect. He posted a 1.39 earned-run average in 77.2 innings, giving up only 46 hits while walking 30 and striking out 75.
Phillips was added to the Rangers' 40-man roster after the 2009 campaign but was never called up to the major leagues with the Rangers. He pitched between Double- and Triple-A last season and had a 2.69 ERA in 67 innings.
This year, with Round Rock, Phillips had made a team-high 33 relief appearances. He had a 4.43 ERA in 44.2 innings. The hurler yielded 50 hits, walked 21, and struck out 38.
He attacks hitters with a four-pitch mix that includes an 88-92 mph two-seam fastball, a 74-77 mph curveball, a low-80s slider, and a low-80s changeup. He added the slider late last season to give him another weapon against left-handed batters. While his stuff isn't dominant, all four of his pitches are usable––the name of the game for him is command.
When Phillips locates his arsenal, he can be a major league-quality middle reliever. But he has struggled to keep his command consistent from outing-to-outing over the last two seasons. The southpaw tends to fall behind hitters and elevate his fastball up in the zone at times, leaving him streaky.
After beginning this season with a 2.13 ERA through nine outings, Phillips gave up multiple runs in five of his next six appearances. His results have been much better since––24 ip, 24 h, 10 bb, 19 k and a 2.63 ERA.
The Sacramento native joins the Orioles' 40-man roster. Phillips shows major league potential in flashes, but the key for him is certainly commanding his arsenal with consistency.
During last offseason, Phillips was ranked as the #46 prospect in the Rangers' organization. His extended scouting report can be found at this link.
Green, 32, joins his 11th different organization during his 13-year professional career and his ninth since the start of the 2007 season. He has appeared in 393 career major league games between the 2004 and 2010 campaigns. The Florida native appeared in a career-high 103 contests with Boston in '09, posting a .236/.303/.366 slash line.
This season, Green appeared in 87 games at Triple-A Norfolk and batted .208 with 16 doubles and 10 home runs––a .208/.276/.357 line. Although he has spent the majority of his career as a middle infielder, Green has played all around the diamond this year––second base, shortstop, third base, left field, and right field.
He is listed at 5-foot-11, 185-pounds and is both a right-handed hitter and right-handed thrower.
Rangers swap Phillips for Green
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