Phillies: 6 relievers Joe Girardi is excited about for 2021

Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports) /
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Hector Neris #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

1. Hector Neris

The “veteran” of the Phillies bullpen remains Hector Neris, who first debuted in August 2014 under then-manager Ryne Sandberg and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. The Dominican Republic native is now onto his fourth manager while donning red pinstripes (Pete Mackanin, Gabe Kapler, Joe Girardi), and his third general manager (Matt Klentak, Sam Fuld).

There appears to be no signs that Neris is going anywhere anytime soon, as he and the Phillies agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract in early December to avoid arbitration.

On top of power, Girardi noted to Frandsen that there will be “different looks” in the bullpen this coming season — something that was not necessarily the case during the 2020 struggles.

“You have different looks. Every guy has a little bit of a different look,” Girardi said. “[Sam] Coonrod is going to be different than [Archie] Bradley, who is different than [Connor] Brogdon. [Jose] Alvarado is going to be different than JoJo Romero. Hector Neris has the split. Everyone’s got different pitches they can go to, so it gives you different looks in the bullpen.”

“We had a lot of 92s and 93s last year with breaking balls,” the skipper added. “It’s different this year, so I’m excited about that.”

Neris did not have as strong of a season as he did with his 2.93 ERA in 2019, although it is worth noting that he did not surrender a single home run in 2020 spanning 21 2/3 innings and 103 batters faced. Outside of him allowing two runs in the 5-0 season finale loss that eliminated the team from the postseason, Neris had a 1.23 ERA with a .222/.323/.222 opposing slash over his previous 15 outings that season.

And, now with Bradley, Alvarado, Coonrod, and others, there is not as much pressure on Neris to perform on a day in, day out basis.

Phillies pitchers and catchers are set to report to Clearwater in just days. If these six relievers come through, the sky is the limit for the 2021 bullpen.

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