UPDATE (Friday): Philadelphia has released both Gomez and Saunders, meaning both players will be on release waivers for 48 hours before hitting free agency.
ORIGINAL: The Phillies made two veteran cuts Tuesday afternoon, announcing that reliever Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Michael Saunders have been designated for assignment. Lefty Hoby Milner and outfielder Cameron Perkins were called up in their place.
Philadelphia has struggled to a league-worst 22-46 record so far this year, so today’s moves are meant to send a clear message that the club will spend the rest of the season developing young players without giving extended chances to struggling veterans.
Gomez, 29, saved 37 games for the Phils last year and was considered a trade candidate last July before struggling to a 7.25 ERA in 22.1 innings this season. He’s eligible for free agency at the end of this year after earning $4.2 million in 2017.
Saunders, 30, signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Phillies before the season but has hit just .205/.257/.360 with six homers in 61 games. His deal includes an $11 million option for next season, though his severely disappointing season means that won’t come to fruition.
Philadelphia now has seven days to trade, release or outright Gomez and Saunders, though the almost certain outcome will be that each player is released and looks to catch on elsewhere for the rest of the year. Philadelphia is responsible for the rest of their salaries this season.