The Mets announced that they have claimed right-hander Sam Coonrod off waivers from the Phillies. The righty had been designated for assignment by the Phils last week to create room on their roster for infielder Josh Harrison. To create space on the roster for Coonrod, outfielder Khalil Lee has been designated for assignment.
Coonrod, 30, posted a 5.74 ERA with the Giants in 2019 and 2020 but had a nice breakout in 2021 after getting traded to the Phillies. He threw 42 1/3 innings that year with a 4.04 ERA, 25.9% strikeout rate, 8.1% walk rate and 57.1% ground ball rate. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep the momentum of that season going into 2022, getting shut down in Spring Training with a shoulder strain. He eventually returned but posted a 7.82 ERA over 12 appearances down the stretch.
For the Mets, they will be taking a shot on a bounceback from the righty, with reasons to believe that’s possible. There was surely some ill fortune at play in his rough results last year, as his 48.5% strand rate was well below the 72.6% league average. ERA estimators like FIP and SIERA had his work graded much lower, coming in at 4.61 and 4.41, respectively. His fastball velocity could also tick up now that he’s further removed from his injury, since it was at 97 mph last year after being between 98 and 99 in the previous two years.
Coonrod has an option and won’t even need to be guaranteed an active roster spot, allowing him to serve as depth in the minors until needed on the big league club. The club’s bullpen chart is topped by Edwin Díaz, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson and Brooks Raley, while Coonrod will be trying to earn a spot further down against guys like Drew Smith, John Curtiss, Stephen Nogosek and others.
Lee, 25 in June, has served as an optionable depth outfielder for the club recently, getting into 13 MLB games in the past two seasons. He spent most of last year at Triple-A, hitting .211/.326/.366 for a wRC+ of 89 in 100 games. Last week, it was reported that he’s under investigation by Major League Baseball under the league’s domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. His ex-girlfriend filed a federal lawsuit that alleges that Lee assaulted her physically and verbally in May of last year.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported the transactions prior to the official announcements.