Internal options: José Alvarado, Seranthony Domínguez, Jeff Hoffman
The good part about the current makeup of the Phillies’ bullpen is the fact that they have a lot of solid, dependable arms that they could deploy as a closer if needed.
Obviously, the unanimous choice would probably be moving José Alvarado into the closer role, as he has been one of the most dominant relievers for the Phillies during the past two seasons. In particular, he had a career year in 2023, compiling a 1.74 ERA, 249 ERA+, 1.16 WHIP, with 64 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings of work over 42 appearances.
He even got some experience in the closer role by notching 10 saves during the past season. However, he has been so exceptional in the setup role that the Phillies may want to keep him there, where he has been the most effective.
Another candidate would be flamethrowing Seranthony Domínguez. With a blazing fastball that averages 98 mph and tops out in triple digits, he certainly has the true makings of a bonafide closer. However, Domínguez struggled quite a bit with his command and consistency throughout 2023 as he pitched to a respectable 3.78 ERA but a more worrisome 1.40 WHIP.
He also struck out less than one batter per inning for the first time in his career. So unless Domínguez can regain his consistency for 2024, he shouldn’t be promoted to the closer role just yet.
Another standout reliever for the Phillies in 2023 was Jeff Hoffman. He posted career-best numbers with a 2.41 ERA, 180 ERA+, and a 0.92 WHIP. In addition, he gave up only 14 earned runs, including just three home runs, along with 69 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings of work. Although he has a blistering fastball that averages in the 97 mph range, he tends to utilize his slider more as his wipeout pitch.
If the Phillies intend to keep Alvarado in the setup role and not look elsewhere to fill the closer role, look for Hoffman to potentially step up to fill the void in 2024.
Probability of the Phillies using an internal option in the closer role: Moderately likely
NEXT: External options the Phillies could look at to fill the closer vacancy