The Philadelphia Phillies, mired in last place in the National League East with a major-league-worst 22-46 record, designated outfielder Michael Saunders and reliever Jeanmar Gomez for assignment Tuesday.
The team now has seven days to trade, release or place the two players on waivers.
Outfielder Cameron Perkins and left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner were promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill the two roster spots.
The announcement marked a disappointing end to the tenures of two players who were expected to be significant contributors in Philadelphia this season. Saunders, who signed a one-year, guaranteed $9 million contract as a free agent in January, began the season as the No. 5 hitter in the Phillies’ batting order. Gomez was Philadelphia’s closer in 2016 and ranked fifth in the NL with 37 saves.
Saunders, 30, hit .205 with a .617 OPS and six home runs in 61 games this season. Gomez, 29, logged a 7.25 ERA in 22⅓ innings out of the Phillies’ bullpen.
“It wasn’t working with Saunders,” manager Pete Mackanin told reporters before Tuesday’s game against St. Louis at Citizens Bank Park. “He wasn’t hitting the way we expected him to, and we wanted to see somebody else. I think Gomez had gotten a little stale with us. Since September last year, he hasn’t been the same guy.
“We’ve got to move on and try something else. They both took it professionally. They both understood.”
Perkins, 26, was a sixth-round pick out of Purdue University in the 2012 draft. He logged a .298/.388/.476 slash line with only 35 strikeouts in 241 plate appearances for Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies also placed starter Jerad Eickhoff on the disabled list with a back strain Tuesday and recalled first baseman-outfielder Brock Stassi from the minors. Mackanin said Eickhoff’s injury isn’t serious, and he’s being shut down for “precautionary reasons.”