Phillies’ Intensify Pursuit of Prime Pitching Talent in MLB Free Agency…

Exploring Phillies’ Optimal Relief Pitching Choices in MLB Free Agency…

The Philadelphia Phillies are poised to enhance the depth and skill of their bullpen as they gear up for the upcoming season. While their starting rotation appears secure with the substantial investment in Aaron Nola as the team’s second ace alongside Zack Wheeler, there’s room for adjustments in the bullpen ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Currently, the Phillies boast a reasonably solid top eight bullpen lineup on paper, lacking a designated closer:

  • Jose Alvarado (28 years old, 1.78 ERA in 41.1 IP)
  • Jeff Hoffman (30 years old, 2.41 ERA in 52.1 IP)
  • Gregory Soto (28 years old, 4.62 ERA in 60.1 IP)
  • Seranthony Dominguez (29 years old, 3.78 ERA in 50 IP)
  • Matt Strahm (32 years old, 2.82 ERA in 54.1 IP)
  • Andrew Bellatti (32 years old, 5.11 ERA in 24.2 IP)
  • Dylan Covey (32 years old, 3.69 ERA in 39.0 IP)
  • Orion Kerkering (22 years old, 3.00 ERA in 3.0 IP)

While the top eight appears promising, there’s a noticeable lack of depth beyond this group, with Yunior Marte, Connor Brogdon, and McKinley Moore being the only other relievers with MLB experience on the team’s depth chart.

Consequently, the Phillies are likely to seek veteran arms to bolster their bullpen, considering the relatively youthful composition of their current bullpen.

Despite the impending departures of Craig Kimbrel and Michael Lorenzen, the Phillies had the fifth-best relief corps in the league last season by ERA. In light of this, the team is exploring 15 potential bullpen options, categorized into distinct tiers:

The Home Run Swing:

  • Josh Hader: Widely regarded as the best available, but the Phillies might need to make a substantial financial commitment given his impressive 2023 performance.

The Oldies but Goodies:

  • David Robertson, Aroldis Chapman, James Paxton, Craig Kimbrel: Seasoned pitchers, all over 35, with proven track records, including Robertson’s respectable 3.03 ERA for the Marlins last season and Kimbrel’s prior contribution to the Phillies.

In Their Primes:

  • Keynan Middleton, Michael Fulmer: Relatively under-the-radar pitchers combining great skills with relative youth, offering late-inning reliability.

Reliable Righties:

  • Hector Neris, Jordan Hicks, Trevor May, Liam Hendriks: A focus on right-handed pitchers with closing experience, including the possibility of a reunion with Neris and the potential fit of flame-throwing Hicks.

Luxury Lefties:

  • Matt Moore, Wandy Peralta, Will Smith, Brent Suter: If the Phillies opt for more left-handed options, Moore stands out with his breakout year as a reliever, along with other experienced lefties like Peralta, Smith, and the versatile Suter, capable of starting, closing, and pitching multiple innings.

As the Phillies strategize their bullpen moves, the goal is to maintain and even improve upon the impressive bullpen performance from the previous season.

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