Phillies Bullpen Depth Thin Heading Into Opening Day

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Aug 3, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Luis Garcia (57) pitches during the twelfth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the twelfth inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Luis Garcia (57) pitches during the twelfth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the twelfth inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies keeping Luis Garcia on the 40-man roster but designating Tyler Goeddel for assignment showed how thin the team is in the bullpen.

When the Phillies added a bevy of prospects to the 40-man roster and brought in some new players during the offseason, other players already on the roster had to be removed. The position hit the hardest was relief pitchers.

When the new 40-man roster was announced, Elvis Araujo, Jimmy Cordero, and David Buchanan were all removed from the roster and are no longer with the team. By the end of the offseason, Michael Mariot, Phil Klein, and Severino Gonzalez were all either designated for assignment or released.

All of these players except for Cordero pitched out of the bullpen at some point during the 2016 season. Now, all but Mariot are no longer with the team, and Mariot is no longer on the 40-man and would have to be re-added to the roster to come back to the major leagues.

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While the Phillies did add some new pitchers to the bullpen during the offseason (Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit), they lost far more relievers than they added. This leaves them thin on relievers heading into this season.

The team plugged one hole in the bullpen by converting Adam Morgan into a reliever, and the lefty will serve as the team’s long man.

However, their other long man candidate, Alec Asher was traded to the Orioles to make room for outfielder Daniel Nava on the 40-man roster. This leaves them with even fewer options for the bullpen.

Currently, the only other reliever on the 40-man roster not in the major leagues is Luis Garcia. The righty has a career 4.24 ERA and isn’t exactly the best option to replace another reliever in the event of injury.

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While most teams wouldn’t keep an aging player with such sub-par numbers on their roster, Philadelphia is forced to because they simply have no one else.

To make room for this spring’s success story, Brock Stassi, the Phils designated outfielder Tyler Goeddel for assignment. This came after the team selected Goeddel in the Rule 5 draft and kept him in the majors all season last year so they could retain him. Now it seems Philadelphia was forced to cut ties with Goeddel in order to still have some semblance of depth in their bullpen.

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If the team promotes Garcia and then still needs another reliever, they will be put in a bind. They will either have to add one of their minor-league relievers to the 40-man roster or convert one of their starting pitching prospects into relievers. Mark Appel, Nick Pivetta, and Ricardo Pinto could all be candidates for such a move. However, I doubt the Phils actually want to do that when each of them still has the potential to be starters.

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