The Philadelphia Phillies claimed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Nicasio has been one of the Pirates' best relievers this season but the team put him on irrevocable waivers. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement that the team had earlier put Nicasio on revocable waivers and he was claimed by a playoff contender whose only aim was to keep him from being traded to another contender.
Huntington said that, after pulling Nicasio back, the Pirates decided to put him on irrevocable waivers, hoping the right-hander would get claimed by a contending team. However, the Phillies, who own the majors' worst record at 49-83, claimed the reliever. Philadelphia will be responsible for paying the remainder of Nicasio's salary this season, which is approximately $600,000.
"Rather than help a direct competitor and recognizing the difference in claiming order between trade and outright waivers, we chose to take the chance to see if by placing Juan on outright waivers he would end up with a different playoff contender, preferably one in the American League," Huntington said in the statement, which was published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Huntington also said that with the Pirates out of contention this season, the team plans to give more innings to pitchers who might be able to help in 2018.
"Given our recent record and regression in the standings, we intend to give the higher leverage innings to other pitchers that may or will impact our 2018 club," Huntington said.
"We acknowledge the minimal amount of money saved by making this move, however, as a result of our decision and Juan's pending free agency at the end of the season, we felt it appropriate to attempt to move Juan to a better situation for him."
Nicasio, 31, has a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings this season. He is 2-5 with two saves.
To make room for Nicasio on the roster, the Phillies designated first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi for assignment.