The Philadelphia Phillies have some work to do in finalizing their pitching staff for the 2020 season. The starting rotation will include Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler, Jake Arrieta and some combination of Nick Pivetta, Zack Eflin and Vince Velasquez.
As for the bullpen, a lot of questions remain. They have a number of guys returning from injuries and players still trying to prove themselves. In hopes of solidifying some of their pitching depth, the Phils inked veteran hurlers Drew Storen and Bud Norris to minor league deals in recent days.
They have reportedly added another veteran arm to the mix in southpaw Francisco Liriano. According to Robert Murray, who also reported the Norris deal with the Phils, Liriano’s minor league deal is for $1.5 million with $1.25 million in incentives.
Liriano, 36, appeared in 69 games for the Pirates out of the bullpen last season after serving as a starter for the vast majority of his 14-year career. In 70 innings, the lefty posted a 3.47 ERA and a 4.53 FIP. While those numbers certainly don’t turn heads, he did hold lefties to a slash line of .194/.326/.333 in 87 plate appearances. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman notes that lefties are hitting just .181 (29-for-160) against Liriano over the past two seasons.
It’s still too early to tell whether the Phillies plan to work Liriano as a starter or reliever, but as we all learned last year, you can never have too much pitching depth if injuries wreck havoc. As the roster stands now, Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez, Cole Irvin and Ranger Suarez are some of the lefties in the mix for a bullpen job.
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