Will Jake Thompson have a role with the Phillies in 2018?

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ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 02: Jake Thompson #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on after a two-run homerun by Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the third inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 2, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 02: Jake Thompson #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on after a two-run homerun by Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the third inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 2, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Jake Thompson’s career with the Phillies has been rocky since being traded here. Will he even have a role with the team in 2018?

The Phillies had a major starting pitching problem in 2017. Several pitchers had their struggles, one of which was Jake Thompson.

Philadelphia acquired Thompson in 2015 as part of the five-player return for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from the Rangers. He was the first of the top prospects to reach the majors; the results have not been great.

In 10 starts in 2016, Thompson had a 5.70 ERA with a 13.5 percent strikeout rate, 11.8 percent walk rate, 1.51 WHIP, and 6.17 fielding-independent pitching.

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2017 wasn’t any better for Thompson as he bounced between Triple-A and the majors. In Lehigh Valley, he had a 5.25 ERA and 4.40 FIP. While his ERA in the majors was 3.88 in 11 appearances, his FIP was 5.92 and he had a 1.55 WHIP and 1.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In September, Thompson made five starts as the rotation dealt with a slew of injuries. In four of those five starts, he allowed no more than one run.

It was one of his few strings of multiple successive starts in his career, but Thompson still dealt with command issues.

The question now is: will Thompson still have a significant role with the Phils in 2018? He was one of 11 starters the team used last year, and most of those 11 will be back this year. Thompson may not be able to edge his way into the rotation.

As it stands now, the starting rotation will consist of some combination of Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Jerad Eickhoff, Ben Lively, Vince Velasquez, Mark Leiter, Zach Eflin, and Thompson. This doesn’t consider anyone the club brings in through free agency or trade, which they are expected to do. A spot for Thompson in the rotation is hard to imagine.

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Meanwhile, the bullpen looks pretty locked up too. At least five of the spots are a given for Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Pat Neshek, and Tommy Hunter. Leiter, Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos, Ricardo Pinto, and Yacksel Rios are the favorites to take the last two or three spots. Thompson doesn’t seem like much of a fit there either.

The Phillies could need Thompson’s 40-man roster spot in the future when they bring up prospects or acquire someone. He could be released in favor of someone else.

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Even if Thompson stays with the team, it would take another slew of injuries to the bullpen or starting rotation for him to find a consistent role with the team. At best, he will bounce between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia to fill in the gaps when needed.

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