Phillies announce surprise contract extension for an important member of the bullpen

The Phillies have extended reliever Matt Strahm through 2025, and maybe 2026.

The Philadelphia Phillies have extended reliever Matt Strahm through 2025, and maybe 2026
The Philadelphia Phillies have extended reliever Matt Strahm through 2025, and maybe 2026 / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

In one of a slew of moves made prior to the start of the 2024 regular season, the Philadelphia Phillies announced on Sunday that they have extended left-handed reliever Matt Strahm through the 2025 season. The deal also includes a club and vesting option for the 2026 season.

According to Matt Gelb of The Athletic, the 32-year-old will make $7.5 million in 2025. In 2026 the club option is for $4.5 million, but will become a vesting option if Strahm pitches at least 60 innings in 2025.

Since arriving in Philadelphia before the start of the 2023 season, Strahm has been a valuable asset for the club. The left-hander started last season in the starting rotation but was later moved to the bullpen. Strahm was reliable in almost any role he was called upon to pitch.

Through ten appearances as a starter, Strahm sported a 4.05 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. Due to the fact that he had not eclipsed 100 innings since 2019, the Phillies decided he would be better suited for a relief role (subscription required) to keep his arm fresh, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber.

The fiery left-hander excelled as a relief pitcher. In 46 appearances, Strahm posted a 2.82 ERA in 54 1/3 innings pitched. He could pitch in long-relief roles or as a single-inning pitcher. He even notched two saves last season, validating the idea that he can pitch effectively in almost any role.

In both roles, Strahm held opponents to just a .213 batting average against him. He also struck out 30.8 percent of the hitters he faced. He also pitched well in the postseason, as he allowed just two baserunners in three scoreless innings.

Matt Strahm's 2024 outlook

Strahm will enter the 2024 season as a key piece in a dominant Phillies bullpen. The club will rely on him the same way they did last season. After a healthy 2023 and learning a new pitch, Strahm is ready to roll in the new campaign.

Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia noted how the 32-year-old left-hander modified his pitch repertoire:

"I credit that all to Caleb [Cotham] and Kap [Bryan Kaplan] with my sweeper last year," Strahm said, per Seidman. "You can probably go back in my career, I don't have many breaking balls that I threw below the zone until last year. My curveball had always been a strike pitch, I can land it in the bottom third of the zone but I struggled to get it to the back foot."

The Phillies and Rob Thomson generally do not assign specific bullpen roles; rather, the relievers are used based on matchups and feel. Strahm strived in many roles in 2023 and will look to do the same in 2024.

Strahm seems happy with the extension, taking to social media shortly after the news was announced.

Earlier this spring he also spoke to Seidman about the feel of playing in Philadelphia.

"Last year, the postseason was everything I thought it would be and even more. The atmosphere at The Bank is unmatchable in my opinion. I'm kinda mad we have to play May through August, I'm ready for October already."

Strahm has pitched well this spring and looks poised to begin the new season. In six total spring training innings, he has struck out 11 batters and has a 3.00 ERA with a 0.67 WHIP.

Extending the versatile left-hander was a wise move by the Phillies front office. Locking up a valuable piece of a good bullpen for at least one more year should solidify the club's relief corps as one of the best in baseball for another couple of seasons.