As Spring Training approaches what Phillies rumors remain regarding moves to improve their bullpen?
In the midst of a dragged out, concerning MLB offseason, the Phillies rumors and hot stove has gone unbelievably cold. Lately, this stove has not been able to grill up a burger patty, much less a steak entree that costs stupid money.
As Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, this offseason’s entrees, wait each other out to set the demands for their deals, the Phillies roster still has a few question marks.
As the Phillies and baseball fans wait on the decisions of Harper and Machado, Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak has made plenty of under the radar moves to improve his roster, most noticeably in the bullpen.
In the Jean Segura trade that sent JP Crawford and Carlos Santana (briefly) to Seattle, Klentak quietly also acquired Juan Nicasio and James Pazos, who is coming off a 4-1 season with a 2.88 ERA.
Klentak also swapped Luis Garcia (2018: 3-1, 6.07 ERA, -0.3 WAR) for Angels reliever Jose Alvarez (2018: 6-4, 2.71 ERA, 1.4 WAR) in a trade that felt like a complete steal for the Phillies.
Finally, Klentak inked David Robertson, one of the most consistent relievers of the past decade, to a two-year $21 million dollar contract. Since 2011 Robertson has not posted an ERA higher than 3.47.
Adding this set of relievers to a bullpen that already consists of the ageless Pat Neshek and the young gun Seranthony Dominguez has the potential to give the Phils one of the best bullpens in baseball. So is there anything left to do?
Top arms like Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller have already been snatched up leaving A.J Ramos, Jason Hammel and former Phillies Ryan Madson and Aaron Loup as possible targets to add to the Phillies bullpen. No names exactly alerting for attention from the Phillies front office. This, of course, is not counting the best reliever of the class, closer Craig Kimbrel.
The Phillies have been connected to Kimbrel for the entirety of this offseason, with it being reported within the last two weeks that the Phillies had “visions” of signing Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, which remains a very realistic possibility.
Kimbrel is arguably the best closer in baseball, a career 1.91 ERA, a WHIP beneath 1.00 and a career save percentage of 90.7. For a team that saved only 68% of their opportunities, Kimbrel seems like the perfect fit. However, his reported request of a six-year $100 million dollar contract was beyond absurd.
The $17 million AAV Kimbrel has asked for is most definitely within the Phillies range. If the Phillies could negotiate Kimbrel into a two or three-year deal he could be a great end piece to an already solid Phillies bullpen. Snagging Kimbrel just to stop him from an Atlanta reunion would be a huge help for the Phillies in 2019.
At this point, it seems nearly impossible to predict how the rest of the offseason will unfold. The Phillies have their stupid money and seem poised to spend it on either Machado or Harper.
While the Phillies do have the financial flexibility to sign both superstars, investing in pitching help could be the right way to go.