Mercifully, the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen could get a makeover over the coming weeks.
The Phillies acquired veteran reliever David Hale from the New York Yankees Friday. Hale won’t join the team in time for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Braves, but he posted a 3.11 ERA in 20 games a season ago, so there’s a real chance that the 32-year-old will help improve the bullpen to some degree.
Additionally, it appears that the Phillies may be working on a trade to acquire closer Brandon Workman from the Boston Red Sox. Ken Rosenthal and Matt Gelb of The Athletic first reported on the Phillies showing interest in the 32-year-old, and Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia suggests that trade negotiations may be fairly serious, saying that the talks are “active” and that “multiple players are involved in the proposed deal.”
Still, it’s entirely possible that the Phillies biggest bullpen upgrades could prove to be internal. The Phillies have been without the trio of Víctor Arano, Ranger Suárez and David Robertson for the entirety of the season, but there’s still hope that each of the three can contribute in the 2020 season.
“I think Victor and Ranger would probably be the closest,” Girardi said before Friday evening’s game in Atlanta. “Ranger, I believe, threw on Wednesday, and I believe his next turn is Saturday. Robertson’s next step is throwing to hitters, so he’s probably the furthest away, but they are all making progress for sure.”
Arano flashed back-end-of-the-bullpen potential in 2018 but has barely pitched since then. Late last May, Arano had what turned out to be season-ending arthroscopic elbow surgery. The circumstances that have led to him not pitching in 2020 are a little murkier. He’s healthy but wasn’t able to properly continue to progress towards returning to the major league level during the quarantine. Regardless of what’s kept him off the mound to this point, the 25-year-old posted a 2.73 ERA and 3.36 FIP in 60 appearances in 2018. Whenever he’s ready, he could provide a shot in the arm to the beleaguered Phillies bullpen.
The left-handed Suárez posted a 3.14 ERA and 3.89 FIP in 37 games out of the bullpen in 2019. The 24-year-old was placed on the COVID-19 Related injured list in early July, and Girardi later suggested that Suárez had been “knocked down for pretty long by this.”
Robertson was the fourth most valuable reliever in baseball between 2009 and 2018, per FanGraphs. However, since signing a two-year/$23 million deal with the Phillies ahead of the 2019 season, Robertson has barely pitched. Robertson last pitched in April of 2019, and the 35-year-old is continuing to work his way back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August of 2019. He offered an in-depth glimpse into his rehab earlier this week.
As the Phillies wait for reinforcements, their bullpen currently has a league-worst 8.07 ERA, a major reason why the team currently finds themselves three games under .500.
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