Phillies: An argument against signing closer Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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While the Phillies need to improve their bullpen, signing just closer Liam Hendriks would not be the way to do it.

Last week, in their annual “Top 50 MLB Free Agents With Predictions” article, MLB Trade Rumors speculated that the Phillies would sign the top free agent reliever, Liam Hendriks. Many fans and analysts seem to agree that signing Hendriks should be a priority for the team this offseason.

On the surface, it makes sense. The Phillies have a dreadful bullpen right now, and Hendriks is the best bullpen arm on the free-agent market. No individual player would improve the pen more than Hendriks.

But that’s exactly the problem. Hendriks is just one player, and this team can’t afford to put all their eggs in one basket. If Hendriks gets injured or has an uncharacteristically bad season, the team would be in serious trouble. That’s why the Phils would be better off signing a handful of good relievers this offseason, instead of blowing all their money on the top guy.

I should note here that if money were no issue, I would absolutely sign Hendriks. However, I’m concerned that if the Phillies sign Hendriks, the team won’t be willing to spend any more money on relievers. And the Phillies need to make more than one addition to the bullpen.

If the season started today, the Phillies bullpen would look something like this: Hector Neris, JoJo Romero, Ranger Suarez, Connor Brogdon, Victor Arano, David Hale, Garrett Cleavinger, and possibly Vince Velasquez. Every single one of those guys has the potential to succeed in a major league bullpen, but none of them (with the possible exception of Neris) have proven themselves enough to be counted on.