5 non-tendered players Phillies should consider signing
By Matt Rappa
2. Nick Tropeano, right-handed reliever
The 30-year-old Nick Tropeano has already pitched for three different teams across his six-year career — the Houston Astros (2014), Los Angeles Angels (2015-16, 2018-19), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (2020).
Thirty-nine of his nearly 50 career appearances have come as a starter, however, all seven of his outings this past season were as a reliever. Among those, Tropeano combined to go 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, and 19-4 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 15 2/3 innings.
On paper, those stats resemble something the 2020 Phillies bullpen could have benefited from. The New York Mets claimed the right-hander in late October, but ultimately non-tendered him on Wednesday. Perhaps, the Mets did not want to take the risk given his history of injuries, but for the Phillies, they almost have nothing to lose.
“A former starting pitcher for the Astros and Angels, Tropeano missed much of 2016-18 due to Tommy John surgery and other arm issues,” MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo recently wrote. “Tropeano still uses a starter’s repertoire, relying heavily on a slider and splitter.”
Tropeano could potentially be the Phillies’ long-relief pitcher in 2021, or, they could try him out this spring training as a starter under the guidance of new pitching coach Caleb Cotham. The Phillies still need a fifth starter in the rotation, considering Jake Arrieta is now a free agent.
Prior to his 2020 stint with the Pirates, Tropeano had gone 12-14 with a 4.51 ERA, but even then struck out 193 batters and walked 87 in 217 1/3 frames. His 2020 showing could be a fluke in a year like no other, but perhaps there is something there he could carry over into wearing red pinstripes in 2021.