Phillies Spring Training 2024

Phillies add a couple of interesting players on minor-league deals

Colorado Rockies v Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 09: David Dahl #26 of the Colorado Rockies waits for a pitch during an at-bat in a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August, 9, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 5-3. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The Phillies' biggest move of the week was agreeing to a one-year deal with outfielder/second baseman Whit Merrifield, which is pending a physical, but they've continued to add depth in the days since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.

They've reportedly agreed to minor-league contracts with outfielder David Dahl, a former All-Star and first-round pick of the Rockies, and Ricardo Pinto, a pitcher who made 25 appearances for them in 2017 and excelled in the Caribbean Series held in Miami earlier this month.

Dahl, 29, debuted with Colorado in 2016 and looked like a budding star, hitting .297/.346/.521 from 2016-19 and making the NL All-Star team in 2019. Injuries changed the trajectory of his career. He didn't play at all in the majors in 2017 and was limited to 19 minor-league games because of a stress reaction in his rib and later a back injury. He had two more IL stints in 2019. He struggled through the abbreviated 2020 season with a right shoulder injury, then was non-tendered by the Rockies that December with pandemic cost-cutting cited as a factor.

The left-handed-hitting Dahl has bounced around since, signing free-agent deals with the Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Padres and Dodgers. He's performed at Triple A for all of those organizations, hovering around .300 with power, but appeared sparingly in the bigs. In 328 major-league plate appearances over the last four seasons, Dahl has hit .199/.236/.303.

It's a low-risk move by the Phillies to add a depth outfielder with upside. Once upon a time, Jayson Werth was a 27-year-old former first-round pick who'd dealt with injuries, hadn't really established himself and was looking for a reset with his fourth organization. Very few low-risk deals turn out like Werth, and who knows if Dahl is even around in a few months, but it's worth a shot.

Dahl is out of minor-league options. So are Phillies reserve outfielders Jake Cave and Cristian Pache. Their four-man bench, if fully healthy, would appear to be Merrifield, Edmundo Sosa, Garrett Stubbs and another outfielder. It will be sorted out in spring training.

Pinto, now 30, is a right-hander from Venezuela the Phillies originally signed in 2011 when he was 17. He pitched in their minor-league system from 2012-17 and carried a 7.89 ERA in 25 appearances with the big club in 2017.

Pinto started twice for Venezuela earlier this month in the Caribbean Series, a tournament that featured the champions of pro baseball leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and Curaçao. He allowed just one run in 10⅔ innings with 14 strikeouts and was named MVP of the tournament after leading Venezuela to its first title in 15 years.

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