Phillies bullpen coming together as two more are optioned to Triple-A
The Phillies continued to shape their 25-man roster on Saturday.
Phillies relievers Victor Arano and Yacksel Rios have been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start the season, according to multiple beat writers.
In Spring Training this year Arano had an ungodly 45.00 ERA after allowing 22 runs in 13.1 innings.
Rios, on the other hand, was very good in limited spring training action with a 0.82 ERA in nine games.
Barring any corresponding moves, the bullpen appears to be set with eight arms going into Opening Day: Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek, David Robertson, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez, Juan Nicasio, and Edubray Ramos.
As reported earlier this month, Tommy Hunter is expected to start the season on the injured list with a strained flexor in his right forearm.
Most opening day projections had Arano making the team after a fantastic first full season for the Phillies last year. In his first 70 MLB games over two seasons, Arano has been fantastic with a 2.57 ERA and 73 strikeouts.
Of the eight pitchers now projected to make the big league team, only two have minor league options remaining, Dominguez (2) and Ramos (1). While Ramos had a 6.75 ERA in Spring Training this could be his final opportunity with Rios lurking in Lehigh Valley.
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Nicasio and Alvarez were acquired in early offseason trades; Alvarez coming from the Angels for Luis Garcia and Nicasio part of the Jean Segura trade with Seattle. Alvarez gives Philly another veteran southpaw alongside Morgan (a former top pitching prospect) while Nicasio makes his return to Philadelphia after pitching for them briefly in 2017.
Philadelphia currently has no designated closer with Dominguez, Neshek, Robertson, and Neris each with late-game experience. Dominguez appeared to be the closer of the future after an electric start to his career with an ERA of zero in his first 12 games. After that magical start, Dominguez had a 3.95 ERA the rest of the season.
Vince Velasquez could also see time in the bullpen with off days early in the season that allow Aaron Nola to make extra starts on regular rest.