Where else can the Phillies turn to help their bullpen in 2020?
One of the Philadelphia Phillies biggest weaknesses during the 2018/2019 seasons was their bullpen. Via a combination of crippling injuries and lackluster development, the Phillies have had one of the worst ‘pens in the entire National League.
After not signing a single reliever this offseason, it appears the only way the Phillies can upgrade their bullpen at this point is through a trade.
Here are three players the Phillies should explore trading for to fix their bullpen.
Kyle Crick, Pittsburgh Pirates
When you look up the term “bounce-back candidate”, a picture of Kyle Crick likely comes up.
Crick entered the league in 2017 with the San Francisco Giants, and instantly began making an impact within the organization. At just 25 years old at the time, Crick pitched in 30 games while recording an ERA of 3.06. He allowed just two home runs all year and struck out 28 batters in total.
The hard throwing righty was then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates following the conclusion of the 2017 season, where he continued to develop as a potential elite reliever. In 64 games with the Pirates he posted a 2.39 ERA, a 1.127 WHIP, and a SO/BB rate of 2.83. He also only allowed 3 home runs while striking out 65 batters.
Crick had a rough year in 2019 to say the least. The Pirates were notably not contenders and it became clear that frustrations were starting to boil over in the Pittsburgh clubhouse. Crick’s season came to a close in September after requiring surgery on his hand which he injured in a clubhouse fight.
Crick posted career lows pretty much across the board in 2019 with a 4.96 ERA, 1.551 WHIP, and a total of 7 recorded losses. His poor performances combined with the clubhouse issues make him a prime target for an easy trade.
The one aspect of Crick’s game which remained intact in 2019 was his ability to “miss bats”. He struck out 61 batters and actually posted a career best K/9 rate of 11.2. Primarily utilizing a 96mph fastball which likes to move a little bit, Crick has shown in three consecutive seasons that he has the ability to consistently strikeout batters.
Above all else, the biggest reason Crick should be appealing to the Phillies front office is because of his contract. John Middleton appears to be hard-pressed to stay under the luxury tax threshold this year, and Crick is due to make a measly $581,500 in 2020.