Phillies: Archie Bradley will be a difference-maker in 2021

Former Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
Former Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports) /

There is plenty to be excited about the newest Phillies bullpen addition, Archie Bradley.

The Philadelphia Phillies took a significant step toward improving their bullpen from the 2020 season on Thursday, signing six-year veteran right-hander Archie Bradley to a one-year, $6 million deal.

For a team that finished just one game shy of making the postseason for the first time since 2011, Bradley could make all the difference in helping to bring Red October back to Citizens Bank Park — exactly 10 years later.

With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training in about one month, the 28-year-old could soon earn a role either as the set-up man to Hector Neris, or as the go-to closer altogether. Either way, the Phillies should and will have confidence in Bradley. Spanning 211 1/3 career innings while pitching in innings 7-9, the Oklahoma native has a 3.11 ERA, while limiting opposing batters to a .231/.302/.354 slash line.

Bradley has been one of the most consistent relievers over the past four seasons. His season ERAs finished as being 1.73, 3.64, 3.52, and 2.95 for the 2020 campaign, split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds.

Also in 2020, Bradley went a combined 2-0 with an 18-3 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 1.091 WHIP across 18 1/3 innings.

Bradley’s best season so far in his career came in 2017, when he finished 20th in the National League MVP race. Spanning 63 appearances, 13 games finished, and 73 innings, he posted a 1.73 ERA, 79-21 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and 1.041 WHIP.

While Bradley represents the Phillies’ first big-league free-agent signing of the offseason, he was not their first bullpen addition. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and GM Sam Fuld recently acquired Jose Alvarado and Sam Coonrod from the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants, respectively.

According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, Alvarado, Coonrod, and Bradley had respective average velocities of 96.9, 98.0, and 94.2 last season. The 2020 Phillies bullpen, Stark continues, featured no relievers who pitched more than 12 innings with an average velocity faster than 94 miles per hour.

The Phillies quietly are overhauling their bullpen for the better. Plenty of additional moves are surely to be made as the offseason starts to wind down and spring nears.

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