With pitchers and catchers set to report a week from today and with the equipment truck already on the way to Clearwater, Florida, the last few touches on the roster are coming together for the Phillies. The Phillies were busy on Wednesday, adding two veteran players to the mix: one for the bullpen, one for the bench. Both are minor league deals.
In a conference with reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Athletic, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced that the Phillies have come to terms with left-handed hitting outfielder Matt Joyce. The deal is a minor league deal and Joyce would compete for a bench bat in Spring Training.
Joyce spent 2019 with the Atlanta Braves and 2020 with the Miami Marlins. A bench player, Joyce played in approximately 2/3 of each team's games. Joyce batted ..295 in 2019 and .252 in 2020.
The Phillies are down a left-handed bench bat with Jay Bruce becoming a free agent. Joyce likely will be looking to spell Andrew McCutchen in left field. As of now there is no designated hitter, so for now, should Joyce make the team, he likely will see some at bats in left field against right-handed pitching when McCutchen is off.
Joyce is not likely to be considered an option in center field.
Yesterday, former Phillies bench bat Phil Gosselin signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Ronald Torreyes is back on a minor league deal to compete for a backup spot in the Phillies infield, and the Phillies have two of Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn for the bench when they are not playing center field.
Meanwhile, the Phillies added reliever Brandon Kintzler on a minor league deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Free-agent RHP Brandon Kintzler has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Phillies. Says he turned down major-league deal from the Marlins for the chance to make more money in Philadelphia.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2021
But that may not be the only reason that Kinztler came to the Phillies.
Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper had something to do with it. Rosenthal notes that Kintzler credits Harper with pushing to make the deal happen. Kintzler served as a reliever in the Nationals bullpen with Harper in 2018.
Kintzler was the closer for the Miami Marlins last season, saving 12 games while pitching to a 2.22 earned run average. In 2019, he pitched incredibly well for the Chicago Cubs, with a 2.68 earned run average in 62 games. Despite Kinztler's success, the Marlins declined a $4 million option for Kintzler for 2021. The Phillies will pay him if he makes the team.
Kintzler probably has a good shot at it; adding him on a minor league deal helps the Phillies keep a player they might otherwise have to cut.