In their continuing search for upgrades to help their inconsistent bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies signed former Minnesota Twins closer Blake Parker on Tuesday. He is expected to be in uniform for the series opener with the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.
Parker is a 34-year-old native of Arkansas. The right-hander was selected by the Chicago Cubs with their 16th round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas and reached the big-leagues with the Cubs in 2012.
In 2015, after pitching with the Cubs over parts of the previous three seasons, Parker missed most of the year after undergoing elbow surgery due to ‘loose bodies’ in his right pitching elbow. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners, who used him for just one game before releasing him in August 2016.
Parker was quickly signed by the New York Yankees, appearing in 16 games over the last two months of that 2016 campaign. He would finally get a full, healthy shot at a bullpen role with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017 and excelled.
Over two seasons with the Angels in 2016-17, Parker registered 22 saves with a 2.90 ERA over 138 games. He allowed 103 hits over 133.2 innings with a 156/35 K:BB.
The Twins signed him to a one-year, $1.8 million free agent contract back in January. With Minnesota, Parker pitched in 37 games this year. He saved 10 games, allowing 34 hits over 36.1 innings with a 34/16 K:BB.
Parker had a rough patch from late-May through early-June. However, over a dozen games between June 15 and July 20, Parker allowed 13 hits over 13.1 innings with a 15/5 K:BB. During that stretch he posted a 1.35 ERA, allowing just one home run.
That led up to what would be his final outing in a Twins uniform, and it was a bad one. Against the New York Yankees at Target Field exactly one week ago tonight (Tuesday), Parker was beaten up, allowing four earned runs on three hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning.
Parker was designated for assignment by the Twins, who hoped to send him to the minor leagues. However, he opted to become a free agent instead. The Phillies jumped on him, hoping that he can bring a more consistent, veteran presence to their bullpen as the club makes a run at a postseason berth over the final two months.
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