Phillies trade for hard-throwing reliever from Giants


The Phillies made a trade for a reliever Saturday, their second in two weeks under new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

The Phils acquired Sam Coonrod, a 28-year-old, right-handed reliever from the Giants in exchange for pitcher Carson Ragsdale, their fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Coonrod has pitched in 51 games for the Giants over the last two seasons, posting a 5.74 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 22 walks in 42⅓ innings. Much of the damage against him has been done by left-handed hitters. He's held righties to .225/.319/.314.

Coonrod’s fastball averaged 98.7 mph this past season. He used five pitches. He threw more sinkers (97.9 average) than four-seamers, and also used a changeup, slider and curveball.

According to Statcast, Coonrod ranked in the top five in average four-seam fastball velocity and the top 10 in sinker velocity, among pitchers who threw a minimum of 50.

The Phillies need bodies in the bullpen and must see potential in Coonrod's repertoire. Just before the new year, they made a low-risk, high-reward trade with the Rays, acquiring Jose Alvarado for Garrett Cleavinger in a swap of lefty relievers.

Coonrod's name was in the news at the start of last season when he was the lone player on either side of a Giants-Dodgers game not to kneel during the national anthem as a gesture against racial injustice.

"I meant no ill will by it," he said after the game, per NBC Sports Bay Area. "I don't think I'm better than anyone. I'm a Christian. I just believe I can't kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ.

"I'm a Christian, like I said, and I just can't get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter. How they lean toward Marxism and they've said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can't get on board with that. 

"I chose not to kneel. I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn't want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn't mean any ill will toward anyone."

From NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic:

Coonrod broke into the big leagues in 2019 and had a strange run during the shortened season, briefly becoming a national figure when he refused to kneel during a moment of unity at Dodger Stadium. Coonrod got hurt early in the year, but when he returned from rehab he was throwing harder, regularly hitting triple digits. He briefly saw time as the closer, recording his first three career saves, but he gave up a walk-off homer in the final inning of a crushing loss the final weekend of the season. 

Ragsdale was one of the Phillies’ four draft picks in 2020, a draft that was shortened to five rounds because of the pandemic. The Phils had only four picks because they forfeited their second-rounder when they signed Zack Wheeler last offseason. 

Ragsdale is 6-foot-8, 225 pounds from the University of South Florida. He began his career at USF as a reliever, underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2019, then came back in 2020 as a starter before the coronavirus shutdown.

A piece of his draft report from Baseball America:

"He's more of a control-over-command pitcher, and because of that and a below-average third pitch, some scouts think he's a better reliever profile. However, there are teams who think he has a chance to start.”

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