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Phillies attempt to bolster bullpen by acquiring David Hale


As the Philadelphia Phillies attempt to fix what’s been a disastrous bullpen on the fly, general manager Matt Klentak made a trade Friday.

Matt Klentak is the Phillies general manager. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

According to Matt Gelb and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies have acquired right-handed reliever David Hale from the New York Yankees. Jeff Passan of ESPN says that the Phillies are sending minor league righty Addison Russ back to the Yankees in exchange.

Hale, 32, has a 3.00 ERA in five games in 2020, after posting a 3.11 ERA in 20 games for the Yankees a season ago. Obviously, the Yankees have a much deeper bullpen than the Phillies – and most teams in baseball – leaving them with the luxury of designating Hale for assignment earlier this week when Aroldis Chapman was ready to come off the injured list.

Though the Phillies need for relief help is pressing, this trade is a pretty good indication of how important Klentak and company think it is to snap an eight-year playoff drought in 2020. Russ, 25, had a pretty good season with Double-A Reading in 2019, posting a 2.54 ERA in 55 games. If the Phillies weren’t serious about making the postseason in 2020, they wouldn’t give up a young arm with promise.

Even with eight teams in each league set to reach the postseason in 2020, the Phillies would be on the outside looking in if the season ended today. Now, COVID-19 has kept all teams from playing the same amount of games, but the Phillies enter Friday’s matchup with the division-rival Atlanta Braves with a worse winning percentage than 11 teams in the National League. That’s due, in large part, to their bullpen having a league-worst 8.07 ERA in 2020.

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