The Phillies' closer, whoever it is
Following former closer Craig Kimbrel's rocky one year with the Phillies, Philadelphia's eighth and ninth-inning pitchers have yet to be determined. One of the pitchers may not yet be on the roster. The club is rumored to have an interest in signing free agent reliever Jordan Hicks. The right-hander has the same amount of experience as a closer as José Alvarado, who was their setup reliever and occasional closer.
If Alvarado becomes the Phillies closer, other options currently on the roster to compete for the setup role include Seranthony Domínguez, Gregory Soto, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, and youngster Orion Kerkering.
Soto has extensive experience as a closer with the Detroit Tigers. The left-hander converted 18 of 19 save opportunities in 2021 and 30 of 33 during the 2022 season. He was successful in three of six save situations last year during the regular season for the Phillies.
Phillies need to choose a closer
The Phillies would benefit from having a reliever emerge as their closer this season. Having Brad Lidge as their clear-cut closer in 2008 was significant in Philadelphia winning the World Series that season.
It would be a lot to ask of the reliever to repeat Lidge's perfect season in 2008. Nonetheless, Philadelphia would benefit from having a dominant closer rather than Thomson remaining noncommittal in naming a reliever for the role at the start of the playoffs.
Having the manager decide on a closer-by-committee approach may backfire and prevent the Phillies from winning the Fall Classic this year. It's a huge advantage for a team to have an effective setup reliever and closer combination, especially during the postseason.
They need to figure out who that's going to be and stick with it, barring injury or a complete disaster by whoever is initially in the role. Phillies president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, may wait until the 2024 Trade Deadline to acquire a dominant closer if need be.