The Philadelphia Phillies have claimed righthanded reliever Phil Klein on waivers from the Texas Rangers, according to John Blake on Twitter. Klein was designated for assignment last week when the Rangers activated Robinson Chirinos from the 60 day disabled list, necessitating a move to clear a 40 man roster spot.
I'm a little surprised the Rangers couldn't work out a trade for Klein. The 27 year old righty, drafted in the 30th round of that weird 2011 draft, is on his second option, and has spent time in the majors each of the last three years, putting up a 4.80 ERA and 5.25 FIP in 45 major league innings. Klein fanned batters at a good rate but was homer-prone, and as a fastball/slider pitcher who relied more on deception than great stuff, he was particularly vulnerable to lefties, who could pick up the ball out of his hand easier. Lefties put up an 1108 OPS in 91 plate appearances versus Klein, as compared to a 533 OPS in 109 plate appearances against righthanded hitters.
Philly scouted the Rangers extensively last year in connection with the Cole Hamels trade negotiations, and thus probably feel they have a pretty good handle on what Klein can do. We shall see if he can improve his performance against lefties, or if he's relegated to righty specialist duties going forward.