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December 02, 2016

Phillies designate Asche for assignment to make room for lefty reliever

A few hours before the team likely would have non-tendered him, the Phillies designated Cody Asche for assignment on Friday.

The team parted ways with Asche to make room on the 40-man roster for left-handed reliever David Rollins, who was claimed off waivers from Texas. The Phillies have seven days to trade, waive or release Asche.

The 26-year-old Asche, a former fourth-round pick and the team’s Opening Day third baseman in 2014 and 2015, hit just .213 with four home runs and a .635 OPS in 71 games with the Phillies in 2016. Asche was transitioned to the outfield in the middle of the 2015 season, but his bid to prove himself as an everyday left fielder never got off the ground last year, a year that began with him sidelined for the duration of spring training and the first two months of the regular season with an oblique injury.

Asche was entering his first year of salary arbitration and projected by to be in line to make $1.3 million through arbitration in 2017. While his presence as the only projected left-handed bench bat made it seem like he could have stuck around and tried to carve out a Greg Dobbs-like role as a utility bench player, especially with right-handed hitters at first base and third base (Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco) along with in left field (Howie Kendrick), obviously the front office felt he was expendable.

Asche hit .240/.298/.385 with 31 home runs in 371 games with the Phillies in parts of four major league seasons.

Rollins, meanwhile, could compete for a job as a left-handed reliever out of the Phillies bullpen this spring.

That is, of course, if he sticks with the Phillies for the rest of the winter: Rollins has been with four different organizations in the last two weeks. After appearing in 11 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2016, spending the majority of the season at Triple-A, Rollins was selected off waivers by the Cubs on Nov. 18, then selected off waivers by Texas on Nov. 22, and was selected off waivers a third time in two weeks by the Phillies on Friday.

Rollins, who turns 27 next month, was 5-0 with a 3.77 ERA in 37 games at Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, striking out 32 while walking just six (and sporting a 0.933 WHIP) in 45 1/3 innings.

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