Phillies add more pitching depth to 40-man roster, DFA Muzziotti

Phillies add more pitching depth to 40-man roster, DFA Muzziotti originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater in a week's time, the Phillies made another minor transaction Wednesday to round out a 40-man roster that will continue to evolve.

The latest move was claiming 24-year-old right-hander Max Castillo off waivers from the Red Sox. To make room, the Phillies designated outfielder Simón Muzziotti for assignment.

Castillo has appeared in 21 big-league games over the last two seasons and made six starts ranging from three to five innings. The Phillies are likely looking at him as Dylan Covey-esque rotation depth if/when a need for innings arises. He has a 5.43 career ERA, made seven appearances for Kansas City in 2023 and spent the bulk of the season starting at Triple A in the Royals' system.

Beyond their five-man rotation of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker and Cristopher Sanchez, depth options on the Phillies' 40-man roster include Covey, Castillo, Nick Nelson and left-hander Kolby Allard, signed in late January.

A common theme with the three players the Phillies have added over the last three days is roster flexibility. On Monday, they claimed utilityman Diego Castillo from the Yankees. On Tuesday, they traded cash to the Cubs for right-handed reliever Michael Rucker. On Wednesday, it was righty Max Castillo. All three have a minor-league option year remaining, which means if they're called up, they can be sent back to the minors without being passed through waivers.

Muzziotti and reliever Andrew Bellatti were the players trimmed from the back of the 40-man roster. The Phillies signed Muzziotti, then 17, in 2016 and he's been in the organization ever since. They've long liked his defense, he's produced at Triple A and had a cup of coffee in the majors in 2022, but he found himself behind too many outfielders on the depth chart. The Phillies' three projected starters are Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas and Nick Castellanos, with Cristian Pache and Jake Cave behind them, along with corner outfield options like Weston Wilson and Kody Clemens.