The Phillies announced Thursday that they’ve designated outfielder Cal Stevenson for assignment. He’d only just been claimed off waivers last week, but with Alec Bohm heading to the injured list — as was reported this morning — the team needed to open a roster spot to select the contract of infielder Drew Ellis from Triple-A.
The 26-year-old Stevenson was a tenth-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2018 and has already thrice been traded in his professional career: from Toronto to Houston in the Derek Fisher deal, from Houston to Tampa Bay for Austin Pruitt, and from Tampa Bay to Oakland for Christian Bethancourt. He’s now on his third DFA of the 2023 season alone, having gone from Oakland to San Francisco to the Phillies via that process. Stevenson has had minimal big league experience, both this season (0-for-12 in San Francisco) and in his young career (.145/.259/.188 in 83 plate appearances).
Down in the minors, he’s been a much more productive hitter. Stevenson touts a .267/.378/.380 batting line with seven home runs and 21 steals in 26 attempts. He’s walked at a hefty 15% clip in Triple-A against a lower-than-average 19.5% strikeout rate. Stevenson can play all three outfield spots, though the bulk of his work has come in center field. The Phils likely claimed him in hopes of rostering a true fourth outfield option while the injured Cristian Pache mends, but health concerns elsewhere on the roster prompted them to quickly change course.
The Phillies will have a week to trade Stevenson or attempt to pass him through outright waivers. Given his defensive abilities, on-base track record and remaining minor league options, there’s a decent chance that another team in need of some outfield depth will take a look at Stevenson, either via a small trade or a waiver claim. If the Phils can succeed in passing him through waivers, however, they’d be able to retain him in Triple-A as a depth option. Stevenson doesn’t have the service time or prior outright needed to reject an outright assignment.