Phillies' offseason roster addition grades: One big signing stands out above the rest

The Phillies made plenty of depth moves this offseason, but one free agent signing stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Utilityman Whit Merrifield was the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest offseason addition
Utilityman Whit Merrifield was the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest offseason addition / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Michael Rucker: C

In early February, the Phillies completed another trade, this time with the Chicago Cubs, to obtain right-handed pitcher Michael Rucker. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, Andrew Bellatti was designated for assignment and eventually outrighted to Lehigh Valley after clearing waivers.

Rucker had spent his entire career with the Cubs. In three seasons, he amassed a 5-2 record, 4.96 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, with 120 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings in 96 appearances, all as a reliever. So, in a way, he profiles similar to Mercado, but with the added MLB experience and less the above-average strikeout ability.

As reported by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, Rucker nursed a finger ailment for most of spring training and saw limited action. But in two games, he gave up just one hit, zero runs, and two walks in two innings of work.

Rucker will start the season on the IL and head to the minors as pitching depth. He'll need extended spring training to build up his workload to have a chance to crack the Phillies’ bullpen. He may be in the same boat as Mercado in terms of potential, but he may be just a step ahead of him due to his prior major league experience. But don’t expect him to be at the levels of José Alvarado, Seranthony Domínguez, or Jeff Hoffman, as he should be most effective in lower-leverage situations.