Phillies: Five unique bullpen options for 2021
The Phillies could go in a new direction with the closer role in 2021.
The Phillies bullpen situation during the 2019 season was a bit of a jumbled mess. The team invested heavily in the position during the offseason by signing David Robertson to a $23 million contract, but he pitched just 6.2 innings before getting injured.
The Phillies then had a revolving door at the relief pitcher spot, rotating between minor league prospects and random street-level veterans. They ended the year with a collective 4.38 ERA, good for 15th in the MLB.
Entering 2020, not a whole lot has changed. The Phillies have stuck with their approach of going with “low-risk, high-reward” type players, opting to not sign anyone major during free agency. The bullpen will likely struggle again this year, even with the season being shortened.
However, with a good chunk of money projected to come off the books after 2020, the team is in a solid spot to reinvest in the position for the future.
The Phillies will free up $11 million just from seeing David Roberson walk out the door in free agency, and if the team wants to simply put that money back into an established closer, look no further than Alex Colome.
Since leading the league in saves during the 2017 season (47), Colome has been one of the premier relief pitchers in the MLB. Whether it’s operating as a closer or in a mid/late inning type role, Colome has managed to keep producing at an All-Star type level.
Being utilized as the team’s primary closing pitcher during the 2019 season, Colome had an extremely impressive season with the Chicago White Sox. Across 61 innings he finished 54 games and recorded 30 saves. His WHIP was just a hair over a clean 1.000 and his ERA sat at a solid 2.80. The White Sox were pleased with his performance enough to hand over $10.53 million for him to hang around in 2020.
Colome would instantly become the Phillies number one option out of the bullpen, providing some stability to a position group that has been extremely weak the past few years. Obviously the White Sox would probably prefer to keep him around for at least another year, but if the two sides can’t agree upon a deal, the Phillies could easily swoop in and hand over $10+ million.