The Philadelphia Phillies and left-handed reliever José Alvarado avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing to a one-year deal. The 27-year-old will earn $3.45 million in the 2023 season, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber. This now leaves fellow bullpen arm Seranthony Domínguez as the team's final remaining potential arbitration case.
Alvarado gained notoriety during the 2022 World Series run. His high-octane fastball — as well as his devastating cutter — mystified opponents virtually the entire postseason. In his 12 appearances, he posted a misleading 5.68 ERA, which included a heavy World Series workload where he appeared in four games and gave up the series-clinching, three-run home run to Yordan Álvarez in Game 6. Alvarado's first nine postseason appearances were all team wins; he posted a 3.00 ERA in nine innings with 10 strikeouts.
Alvardo spent time in Triple-A last season after early struggles. He impressively righted the ship upon returning to South Philly in mid-June. He finished the year with a 3.18 ERA with 81 strikeouts in only 51 innings — which equates to a 14.3 SO/9 IP.
The Venezuela native will be an important cog in the Phillies' revamped bullpen, which includes newcomers Craig Kimbrel, Matt Strahm, and Gregory Soto. The disparities between bullpens was very apparent in the World Series, as Houston had a constant stream of young arms that dominated the struggling Phillies offense.
Soto, Domínguez, Kimbrel, and Alvarado could all vie for the closer role next season. Much of that may be decided based on how they perform in spring training and early in the season. However, manager Rob Thomson's philosophy with closers is situational, so chances are there won't be an official announcement — nor will any one guy get the bulk of ninth innings.
In any case, the Phillies hope this version of the bullpen continues with the growth that was evident last regular season and their surprising "Red October" run.