Why Phillies gave away a young catcher with pop


The Phillies lost 24-year-old catcher Deivy Grullón to the Red Sox, who claimed him off waivers Thursday afternoon. 

The Phils designated Grullón for assignment Monday after acquiring David Phelps at the trade deadline and reinstating Ranger Suarez from the COVID injured list. They needed to clear two spots on the 40-man roster for Phelps and Suarez so they DFA'd Grullón and reliever Reggie McClain.

McClain cleared waivers and was outrighted to Lehigh Valley.

Grullón is the fourth former Phillie to join the Red Sox since July 27, along with pitchers Nick Pivetta, Connor Seabold and Robert Stock.

Grullón played in four games with the Phillies last September, going 1 for 9 with a double and an RBI. He's been a good hitter at Triple A (.283 BA, .851 OPS) and has a chance to stick in the majors as a backup catcher with pop.

The reason the Phillies removed Grullón from the 40-man roster even though they knew losing him for nothing was a possibility was the same reason they've designated for assignment Nick Williams and Enyel De Los Santos in recent weeks. All three were going to be 40-man roster casualties this winter anyway when the Phillies will have to add other prospects to the roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

If not on his team's 40-man roster, a player is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if he signed at 19 or older and has played professionally for four years, or if he signed at 18 or younger and has played professionally for five years.


JoJo Romero, for example, would have been eligible to be plucked away in the Rule 5 draft had the Phillies not added him to the 40-man roster last November. The Phillies will soon need to protect Mickey Moniak by adding him to the 40. Same with left-hander Damon Jones. They would have had to add Seabold and Addison Russ, traded to the Red Sox and Yankees in late-August, this winter.

When asked about the Grullón move earlier this week, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said this:

"That process dates back to even when we had to make decisions a few weeks ago, when we took Nick Williams off or Enyel De Los Santos. You look at what their option status will be in 2021, both of them would have been out of options. You look at some of the decisions you'll have to make in the fall. All of that factors into it. The back of our 40, we've lost a few guys. We've traded Edgar Garcia and Austin Davis after DFA'ing them.

"The back of our 40 is stronger than it's been in some time. There's a chance we do lose guys. At some point, we're gonna have to make room for the adds that are coming in November."

Part of the decision to DFA Grullón was the Phillies' confidence in 21-year-old, defensive-minded catching prospect Rafael Marchan, who also needs to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter.