5 former Phillies competing for Cubs roster this spring
By Matt Rappa
5. Brandon Workman
Acquired last August from the Boston Red Sox — along with Heath Hembree — in exchange for Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold, right-handed reliever Brandon Workman had a brief 2020 Phillies stint to forget in red pinstripes.
After starting the year with a 4.05 ERA through seven appearances with the Red Sox, Workman posted a 6.92 ERA through 14 appearances in a Phillies uniform. He was a significant contributor to the team’s bullpen recording the worst combined ERA in the past 90 years of Major League Baseball. While he had five saves, he blew three of them across his eight overall opportunities — had just one been a save, the Phillies would have made the postseason for the first time since the 2011 season.
Despite this, the Red Sox reportedly mulled bringing back Workman this offseason to complement their Adam Ottavino acquisition. Ultimately, the Cubs signed the 32-year-old on Thursday to a one-year, $1 million contract, with an additional $2 million available through performance-based incentives.
A two-time World Series champion with the Red Sox, Workman simply could not get things going in an already sinking ship that was the 2020 Phillies bullpen. The Cubs will hope he can return to his better days, as recently as the 2019 season in which he went 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 1.033 WHIP ratio, and 104-45 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 71 2/3 innings.
If all goes well, Workman has the potential to close for the Cubs this coming season, or at least backup and be the No. 2 option behind fellow former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.