Reliever Vic Darensbourg pitched parts of eight seasons in the Majors and spent 2007 with Triple-A Toledo (Detroit). Left-hander Brian Mazone also rejoins the club after a year in Korea. [Link]
Darensbourg, 37, went 6-2 with a 1.72 ERA in 52 1-3 innings for the Mud Hens. Getting his last taste of the bigs in 2005 with the Tigers, he is 8-17 with a 4.96 ERA in 303 career innings, all coming in relief. In the past, the 5-10 southpaw had been a hard thrower and tough on left-handers, but he’s getting by on guile now. Inconsistency has kept him out of the bigs. He reportedly has a nice pickoff throw.
Junkball left-hander Brian Mazone, 31, led the International League in ERA in 2006, going 13-3 with a 2.03 mark with Triple-A Scranton. You may recall he was nearly called up to the Phils that season for an emergency start in '06, but it never came to fruition. He got a couple looks in Clearwater this spring, didn’t impress and was assigned to Ottawa, where he was his usual stingy self until his contract was sold to Korea. Though his numbers remain solid, the knock on Mazone is he’s a finesse pitcher and Major League hitters will lay off his slop and sit on his slow fastball.
Right-hander Gary Knotts, 30, was reclaimed from the independent leagues last season and pitched for Reading and Ottawa. He’s seen action in 86 Major League games over parts of four seasons, 38 as a starter, the last being 2004 with Detroit, where he went 7-6 with a 5.25 ERA on the season. He was originally an 11th round draft pick of the Marlins.
Right-hander Travis Minix, 30, was a former minor league invitee of the Phils and had a couple good seasons in relief for Reading and Scranton, last pitching for the club in 2006. His ceiling is Brian Sanches.
Reliever Justin Pope, 28, was mentioned in an earlier thread and pitched last season in the Yankees system. In seven minor league seasons, he's 37-33 with a 3.41 ERA, seeing most of his action out of the bullpen.
Slugging outfielder/first baseman Valentino Pascucci is an interesting case. The 6-6, 235 pounder clobbered the ball at Triple-A Albuquerque last season, hitting 34 home runs in 447 games and finished .284/.389/.577. An all-or-nothing hitter who strikes out a lot, the 29-year-old is a product of the Montreal system and couldn't stick. At the end of 2004, his contract was sold to the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan. I have no record of the following season with the Marines, so he may have been stuck on their taxi squad. The next season – 2006 – he hit .222/.332/.468 with 13 home runs in 69 games. Batting from the right side, Pascucci figures to be one heck of a bruiser for the Iron Pigs, a job that originally would have gone to Michael Restovich, who took a better offer in Japan.
Third baseman Mike Cervenak, 31, is the last new signing. In nine seasons, the Triple-A veteran is a 295/.349/.474 career hitter and spent all of last season with Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore). He’s never made it the big leagues and figures to be an everyday player for either Reading or Lehigh Valley.
-- In other news, left-hander Eude Brito signed with the Nationals. Infielder Peeter Ramos, who played in Reading, is now with the Mets.
Snelling signs: The Phillies avoided arbitration with newly acquired outfielder Chris Snelling and signed him to a one-year, $450,000 contract, which is above league minimum. It's looking like he's part of their master plan after all.
Non-tenders: As expected, the Phils had no non-tenders. For the complete list of non-tenders around the league, click here. (Note: Some have already signed elsewhere). The Phils repotedly have interest in one of them: reliever Akinori Otsuka.