Phillies Rumors: Two more names emerge in Phillies’ search for bullpen help

As the reliever market picks up, the Phillies have been connected to two more pitchers who are still available, but will they finally make a move?
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The free agent market for top relief pitchers has begun to thin out in the last week as names like Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman, Robert Stephenson and David Robertson have all been snatched up in quick order a few weeks before the start of spring training.

Earlier Saturday morning, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Hector Neris had reached a one-year $9 million deal to pitch for the Chicago Cubs.

As the market for quality free-agent relief pitchers continues to thin out by the day, Phillies fans are becoming impatient with a front office that hasn't made a substantial move so far this offseason. But with free agent signings starting to pick up after a slow-to-develop market, it's possible the Phillies are ready to pounce after watching the price tags on players drop as we near the beginning of spring training in just over two weeks.

Phillies showing interest in two free agent relievers still on the market

According to Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies are reported to have interest in relievers Phil Maton and Jakob Junis. This isn't the first time we've heard Maton's name mentioned in recent weeks, but interest in Junis is a new development.

"The Phillies were in touch with righty Phil Maton, according to multiple sources," writes Lauber. "But nothing has materialized. They’ve expressed interest in Jakob Junis, a source said, though the 31-year-old righty would fit more as a multi-inning swingman than a late-game option."

The addition of Maton would represent a solid upgrade for a Phillies bullpen looking for another reliable right-handed arm to help ease Jeff Hoffman's relatively heavy workload. Maton had the most dominant season of his career for the Houston Astros last year while putting together a record of 4-3 with 74 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched and a 3.00 ERA over his 68 appearances.

The addition of Junis to the Phillies bullpen in a multi-inning role would give the Phillies a second option beyond Matt Stramn, who saw action in a variety of situations last season and whose ability to pitch in bulk innings proved invaluable in 2023. Having another option like that would allow power arms like Seranthony Domínguez and José Alvarado to pitch in more specialized roles later in games.

Are the Phillies ready to pounce on a remaining free agent reliever? Lauber believes the team has cast a wide net and has had discussions with a few other interesting names.

"It’s likely the Phillies have engaged most other free agents," Lauber adds. "Including Ryne Stanek, Adam Ottavino, Ryan Brasier, and Neris."

So, are the Phillies about to make their first big move? This offseason has been ripe with rumors, but so far the Phillies have fallen short of making deals with any player they have been attached to. The wait continues.