This morning reading MLBTradeRumors.com got me thinking. How could the Phillies NOT put the likes of starting pitchers Colin Kleven and Ranfi Casimiro on its 40-man roster?
Friday night on the internet I watched Casimiro pitched a brilliant 5-inning, two-hit shutout performance, striking out five in a Dominican Winter League game. In 21 innings in November Ranfi has allowed runs in only two of those innings for a 1.71 ERA. In his last 12 innings he has 12 strikeouts.
Then, on Saturday reading Baseball America’s minor league transaction page, we learned Colin Kleven signed with the Chicago White Sox as a minor league free agent. Kleven was brilliant pitching for the Clearwater Threshers in the first half of the Florida State League this season. He almost single handedly won the deciding tie breaking game on the last day of the first half of the FSL season against Daytona striking out eight in 5.2 innings. His fastball topped at 97 mph. on the Bright House scoreboard that afternoon as I sat in the scorching sun behind home plate.
For some reason the Phillies have no room for these starting pitchers on its 40 man roster which now numbers only 37. Even with starting pitching such a rare and expensive commodity. For example another former Phillies starter free agent J.A Happ just signed a $36 million, three year contract with the Blue Jays,
This is what Ken Rosenthal in his column had to say about starting pitchers, “One exec told Rosenthal that “mediocre pitching” now costs a minimum of $30MM total. While that’s true enough, I don’t know that the Happ signing necessarily brought that realization about. We’ve seen players like Jason Hammel, Jason Vargas and Ricky Nolasco clear the $30MM barrier in recent seasons.”
Both Kleven and Casimiro were passed over when the Phillies Front Office started trading for starting pitchers from other organization last offseason. Casimiro thought he would start the 2015 season for the Clearwater Threshers but wound up for a second season with the Lakewood BlueClaws. After two season with the Thresher, Kleven seemed ready to begin last season with Reading but wound up again in Clearwater. He did make it to Reading by mid-season but a back injury ended his Eastern League season early.
Casimiro is eligible for the Rule 5 draft on December 10th. He can be claimed by another MLB team for a mere $50,000 but he needs to remain on that teams 25- man major league roster for the entire 2016 season or be offered back to the Phillies.
Used exclusively as a starter in the Phillies system, Cassi proved he can also pitch in relief by working two perfect innings in holding a 2-2 tie with two strikeouts and four soft contact ground ball outs in the recent Series de las Americas tournament in Miami. The 23-year old would be a valuable Rule 5 pick for any team in MLB.
Baseball Betsy and I can vouch for both Kleven and Casimiro. We have included many videos of them on the BaseballBetsy YouTube channel. He got to know both of them on a personal basis over the last three seasons. They are the kind of character guys any organization would want. We wish them only the best in the 2016 season. We will always be there for them.