MLB insider thinks Phillies should sign these 3 relievers

Tyler Clippard #36 of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Tyler Clippard #36 of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Three relievers who could join Jose Alvarado as 2021 Phillies bullpen additions.

The pressure is on for the Philadelphia Phillies. Not only are they among the teams with the longest postseason droughts among the four major U.S. professional sports leagues, their divison-rival New York Mets got significantly better on Thursday, acquiring Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians.

Just how the Phillies will respond to the Mets’ blockbuster remains to be seen. Recently, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski identified the bullpen, catcher, and shortstop positions as their top three areas needing to be addressed. Their most recently move was acquiring lefty Jose Alvarado from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Considering the Phillies seem to be careful with their wallet this offseason, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman recently named three free-agent relievers on the air, specifically, who the team could target for likely less than $12 million combined — Tyler Clippard, Brandon Kintzler, and Justin Wilson.

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“Every team has to be thinking about pitching durability this year, because of how few innings everyone pitched last year in the major leagues, and no minor leagues,” Sherman said. “The Phillies went out and got three relievers last season to try to address this … those guys were terrible and were part of their problem.”

Sherman said all three relievers are durable and have “track records,” and that the Phillies could sign them on one-year contracts, or one-year deals with an option for 2022.

“I’m not sure that the numbers are that different from last year, when they made less than $12 million as a trio,” he added. “There are a lot of relief pitchers to choose from, and obviously the Phillies have to pick some of them.”

Since 2017 season:

  • Tyler Clippard: 66 games/season, .186 BAA vs. LHB
  • Brandon Kintzler: 67 games/season, .218 BAA vs. LHB
  • Justin Wilson: 61 games/season, .200 BAA vs. LHB

A 14-year veteran, Clippard, who will turn 36 next month, has a career 3.13 ERA and 1.100 WHIP across 777 appearances. The two-time All-Star right-hander went 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA last season with the Minnesota Twins and struck out 26 batters, while walking only four, in 26 innings.

“I actually think Clippard is one of the most underrated players of the last decade. He has never been on the Major League injured list,” Sherman said. “He is very good with his changeup against lefties and is durable.”

Kintzler, 36, has pitched 11 seasons in the majors, most recently with the Miami Marlins in 2020. Spanning 24 appearances, he notched a 2.22 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, and 14-11 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 24 1/3 innings. The right-hander went 12-for-14 in save opportunities.

Wilson, 33, is a nine-year veteran that pitched each of the last two seasons with the Mets. In 2020, he went 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.373 WHIP, and 23-9 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The left-hander gave up just one home run to his 86 batters faced.

Sherman noted that Wilson and Kintzler pitched successfully in the National League East last year, while all three, including Clippard, have pitched late into games. The trio sure would be quality, cheap replacements for fellow relievers Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, and David Phelps on the Phillies big-league depth chart.

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