The Philadelphia Phillies have been very active in upgrading the team since last month, acquiring Wilson Ramos, Asdrubal Cabrera, Aaron Loup, and Justin Bour. Today, another left-handed reliever will join them, as the Phillies acquired Luis Avilan from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for righty Felix Paulino. The team designated Jose Taveras for assignment.
Avilan, who can be controlled through 2020, has been decent this season with the White Sox, posting a 3.86 ERA with a 2.70 FIP. Those numbers are reasonably close to his career figures of a 3.09 ERA and a 3.20 FIP. Avilan isn’t a high-leverage reliever by any means, as he struggles against right-handed pitching, but against lefties, he’s nearly unhittable. Throughout his career, he has held left-handed hitters to a .212/.285/.284 batting line. Another benefit in adding the 29-year-old is that he is very familiar with the National League East, as he spent the first three and a half years of his career with the Braves before being sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Alex Wood deal. The Phillies sent Yacksel Rios down to Triple-A for the time being, but expect to see him return in a few weeks.
In return, the White Sox get a 23-year-old righty swing man in Paulino, who is currently in Double-A. He has shown nice control through the minor leagues, but he struggled last season in Single-A and after being promoted to Double-A midseason this year. A full-time move to the bullpen seems inevitable, but he could probably make it to the major leagues as a swing man. While he has shown success at the lower levels, I need to see sustained success as he rises.
The roster casualty, Taveras, had struggled with injury this season and didn’t post encouraging numbers since his return, with a 6.28 ERA over 14.1 innings at Double-A. That being said, Tavares has been absolutely great in the minor leagues prior to this season, including a 2.22 ERA over 154.1 innings last season between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. With Taveras, we’re looking at a fastball that sits in the low-90’s and a pair of solid secondaries that he has been able to control well. As a Phillies fan, I’m hoping that this is one of those situations similar to Felix Jorge where they release him due to injury, and swiftly re-sign him.