1. Evan Phillips
Evan Phillips has been … let’s say … well-traveled throughout his big-league career. Initially dealt from the Braves to the Orioles in the Kevin Gausman/Darren O’ Day trade, he went from Baltimore to Tampa to Los Angeles in a two-week span last summer, but seemed to find a home in LA as the campaign ended.
One of many unexpected names to contribute in the middle innings last season, Phillips posted a 3.48 ERA and 1.258 WHIP in 10.1 innings with the Dodgers, even sneaking into two NLCS games against the Braves, throwing three shutout innings with six whiffs.
He climbed the trust tree in a short span of time. So could he really have slid back down it in the span of one offseason?
Again, not exactly, but … there isn’t a lot of wiggle room here.
The Dodgers have a few more moves they can attempt over the course of the year (Andrew Heaney? A David Price trade? …Trevor Bauer?), but at the moment, their hands are tied. Phillips clearly did more than enough to crack the postseason roster during his month-and-a-half in LA, but the track record is relatively unremarkable. Eight solid games in 2021 after he posted 6.43 and 5.02 ERA marks in Baltimore the past two seasons can’t rewrite the narrative entirely.
Cleavinger remains the most likely DFA of the trio, but because of Nuñez’s tantalizing potential and minor-league numbers — plus his left-handedness — Phillips is probably next in line to be informed of his release, if a situation presents itself.
And Pillar … is clearly pushing the issue.