Free agent LHP Drew Smyly has agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, likely to a major-league deal, as first reported by MLB Network's Jon Heyman on Friday. NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury first reported on Thursday that the Phillies have "expressed interest" in the left-hander, and added on Friday that Smyly could pitch "as soon as Sunday."
Smyly, 30, is a six-year veteran that has played all of his 169 career games (94 starts) in the American League — with the Detroit Tigers (2012-14), Tampa Bay Rays (2014-16) and Texas Rangers (2019). Smyly underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017.
In June, the Rangers released Smyly, who the Milwaukee Brewers would then sign earlier this month before he elected his release from Triple-A San Antonio on Thursday. Smyly likely knew the Phillies were ready to offer him a big-league deal at the time of his opt-out request.
The Little Rock, Arkansas, native has posted a respectable 32-32 career record, 4.13 ERA, and 1.258 WHIP, but in 13 appearances this season with the Rangers — his first MLB action since Tommy John surgery — he went just 1-5 with a 8.42 ERA, albeit striking out 52 batters in 51 1/3 innings.
With Smyly possibly slated for a Sunday start opposite the Pittsburgh Pirates, he would be taking Vince Velasquez's spot in the rotation. Adding Smyly is a welcome addition, considering the Phillies have started just a handful of left-handed pitchers since the days of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels being in the rotation.