If you blinked, you missed two moves made by the Phillies right at the end of the Winter Meetings. They also made an additional move a day after the meeting ended, but the three moves as a whole aren’t anything that should add up to very much significance. In the first move, the Phillies selected infielder Vimael Machin from the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft and then immediately sent him to the Oakland A’s for cash. Shortly after that, they re-signed utility man Phil Gosselin to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. On Friday, the Phillies signed another free agent, outfielder Matt Szczur, to a minor league deal and also invited him to spent the late winter weeks with the big league club in Clearwater.
The selling point on Machin is the fact that he’s played all four infield positions, but has just 26 games at Triple-A, 12 of which were in 2019. He’s got a decent left-handed bat, but nothing overly impressive, having hit 25 home runs and driven in 206 in five minor league seasons. He’s put together a minor league slash line of .265/.358/.371, with all of his time coming in the Cubs organization. The 26-year old could have enough versatility to carve out a utility role with the A’s if he can hit enough.
Gosselin put up decent numbers in his 44 games with the Phillies in 2019 and played three positions for them, which makes him worth a second look in 2020. He hit .262 overall, but hit .313 (10-for-32) as a pinch-hitter with the club. With Lehigh Valley, Gosselin hit 8-47-.314/.405/.497 in 78 games.
The 31-year old will likely battle with recently signed Josh Harrison for a utility role with the club. Keep in mind that rosters expand to 26 players in 2020 and the Phillies haven’t announced exactly how they’ll use that added roster spot as to what type of player/pitcher they’ll fill it with.
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While Gosselin is a West Chester native and played at Malvern Prep, Szczur (pronounced SEE-zur) is from Cape May, NJ where he attended Cape May Regional High School. He was drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in the 38th round of the 2007 Draft, but did not sign. He went on to play college ball at Villanova and was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft by the Cubs. He has played in the majors with the Cubs and San Diego and played last season with Triple-A Reno in the Diamondbacks organization. In 2016 he was a member of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.
If Szczur winds up spending time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he could be reunited with former Cubs third base coach Gary Jones, who now serves as the manager of the IronPigs. Officially, no announcement has been made on whether Jones will return to Lehigh Valley for the 2020 season, but it is believed that he will return.
In five major league seasons, Szczur has played in 363 games with a line of 12-61-.231/.312/.355. He played in 107 games with the World Champion Cubs in 2016.