Phillies 2023 report cards: Grading the bullpen

For what has been a rocky unit for most of the last decade, the 2023 Phillies flipped the script and had one of the best arm barns in the league.

Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Dylan Covey

Someone who definitely wasn't a fan favorite, Dylan Covey, still found a way to play a very important role in 2023.

The Phillies claimed the 32-year-old off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers in May, and his welcome to Philly left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. In his first five games with the squad, Covey allowed 10 runs over the course of about nine innings, leaving his ERA to skyrocket and fans to call for his head.

However, over the course of his next 30 innings, he allowed only six earned runs and finished the season with a 3.69 ERA. Covey even ended the month of September pitching 11 innings and only allowing one run leading into the postseason.

At first, Covey was introduced as a spot starter and long reliever but quickly shifted into a mop-up role after his poor performance to begin his Phillies career. In that low-leverage role, he excelled, eating up plenty of innings and finishing off games for manager Rob Thomson, which allowed him to keep weapons like Kimbrel, Alvarado, and Hoffman rested for more intense scenarios.

Covey has three more years left of team control until he's a free agent. It's tough to say what role the Phillies will have for him in 2024, but with a strong latter half of the year, he has earned himself a spot in the running for one of the last bullpen spots.

Grade: C