Late last week the Phillies signed minor league free agent Elvis Araujo to a big league contract and it was partly a relationship in the team's front office that helped get the deal rolling.
Araujo, a six-foot-six 215 pound lefty has previously pitched in the Cleveland organization, tallying a 22-14 record with 11 saves and a 3.87 ERA in 102 games (57 starts) in his five-year professional career.
Last year, the 23-year-old, who regularly reaches the upper 90's with his fastball, split his season between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron, posting a 3.42 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in his first season working exclusively as a reliever.
Pitching for Zulia in the Venezuela Winter League, where his teammates include 2014 Phillies contributors Freddy Galvis and Aaron Altherr, Araujo has a 2-0 record with 11 strike outs, three walks and no runs allowed in 8 1/3 innings over seven appearances.
Another Phillies tie with the Zulia club is the team's assistance general manager Luis Amaro, the brother of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. According to Luis, who played in the Phils' developmental ranks, he advised his sibling to keep an eye on the talented young pitcher.
"I told my brother Ruben some names to look out for and one of them was Araujo," Amaro stated via e-mail. "The Phillies did their due diligence in sending scouts to evaluate him."
Offering insight on Araujo's abilities, Amaro expressed confidence that he'll compete for a big league roster spot in the near future based on heavy impressions the native Venezuelan has made.
"I think the Phillies signed a great arm," Amaro said. "Elvis is a 6'6" left-handed pitcher who's throwing 92 to 97 (MPH) and throwing a lot of strikes with a plus breaking pitch. He has all the ability a Major League pitcher has and I don't see how he won't be a big leaguer in the near future. I think he will be one to watch in spring training."
Reports state that several organizations were interested in Araujo, but it seems the Phils' offer of a big league contract helped them finalize the deal. The addition leaves the team's 40-man roster at 34 players.