3 Phillies players the organization has too much faith in right now

The Phillies should find more suitable options for specific roles with the club and need to clear up a vital situation in the bullpen before the start of the regular season.

Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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The first Philadelphia Phillies spring training workout involving pitchers and catchers took place in Clearwater on Wednesday. Like every team entering spring training, it would be ideal if Philadelphia finds better solutions at certain spots of their roster before their home opener at the end of March.

Here are two players the Phillies organization has too much faith in right now and one potential positional choice the team should avoid implementing this season.

The ambiguity surrounding the closer situation in the bullpen

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski commented during a Feb. 7 interview on SportsRadio 94WIP's Morning Show that he is satisfied with the options the club has to use at closer, whether it be one reliever or multiple to be used in save situations.

José Alvarado has been a good option out of the bullpen in two of his three years with the Phillies. He had a 3.18 ERA in 59 games during the 2022 season. Last season, he was on the IL a few times with left elbow inflammation but was effective in 42 games with a 1.74 ERA.

The 28-year-old also tied his career high with 12 save opportunities and finished with a career-high 10 saves. He finished with a 1.13 ERA in eight contests during the playoffs, further establishing himself as one of the Phillies' top relievers entering spring training.

Alvarado doesn't have much experience as a closer, with 32 saves in 45 opportunities over his seven years in the major leagues. Jeff Hoffman (two saves in five opportunities over eight seasons), Seranthony Domínguez (27 saves in 42 chances over five years), Matt Strahm (six saves in 17 opportunities over eight years), and Gregory Soto (53 saves in 62 chances over five seasons), are four other primary options for the role.

Orion Kerkering is still a young pitcher at 22 years of age. He isn't guaranteed to begin the season with Philadelphia, especially if he struggles during spring training. It would be a lot to ask for him at this point in his career to occupy the most high-leverage situation a reliever can be used in. However, there is promise he can fulfill this role for the organization within a year or two.

Domínguez had a career-high 20 save opportunities with the Phillies but that was in 2018. Soto appeared to be a likely candidate for the role after Philly acquired him in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. However, manager Rob Thomson elected to use Craig Kimbrel in the closer's role during 2023.

The club should commit to one reliever as its closer, whether that be Soto or Alvarado, for example. If not, they should consider acquiring another reliever via trade who has been used in the closer's role for the majority of his career.

Closers such as Kenley Jansen of the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Guardians reliever Emmanuel Clase, and Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers are all rumored to be dealt. Having a closer-by-committee approach risks not working out well for Thomson and the Phillies, particularly in the postseason, and is making the situation more complicated than it needs to be.