5 potential bullpen options for the Phillies in 2022
The Phillies bullpen has been an absolute disaster over the past few years. For a team that blew 34 saves last season, adding new arms to bullpen is a must this offseason when the lockout ends.
More help is still needed in the bullpen. Hector Neris is now in Houston, and the Phillies bullpen is filled with guys like Jose Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, and Sam Coonrod, who can give you valuable innings, but have proven time and time again to lack consistency.
Here are five relief pitchers that the Phillies could target after the MLB lockout for the 2022 season.
Phillies Bullpen Options
Joe Kelly has just about as much experience as anyone on the market. Kelly has been a postseason machine throughout his time in the MLB and is due for a new contract this offseason. Kelly, who was originally set to make $12M in 2022 with the Dodgers, was bought out by Los Angeles for $4M and will test free agency.
Kelly went 2-0 in 44 innings pitched in 2021, with a 2.86 ERA, 50 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.977. Kelly has the experience, the talent, and the attitude that would fit perfectly in Philadelphia. His 2021 debut came in May, but he had a career season in those six months. You might remember Joe Kelly from this heated exchange with Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros.
Kenley Jansen could get pricey, but he’s still a very solid arm that could fill a much-needed role in the bullpen. His most recent contract was a 5 year, $80M deal with the Dodgers, but with that contract being up, he will now officially test free agency.
Jansen tallied a 2.22 ERA in 69 games with the Dodgers in 2021, racking up 38 saves, 86 strikeouts, and just 17 runs in 69.0 innings pitched. Jansen has been the solidified closer for the Dodgers since he made his MLB debut in 2010 and has saved 350 games in his time with Los Angeles.
If the Phillies were truly in on Jansen, I’d have to assume he would become this team’s closer, and Knebel would be moved and used as an 8th inning arm.
Ryan Tepera pitched a fantastic season in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox, after being traded from their cross-town rival Chicago Cubs. Tepera has hit free agency and is out on the market for teams looking for a solid late-inning reliever.
Tepera tallied 61.1 total innings in 2021, with an ERA of 2.79. He struck out 74 batters, had a SO/9 ratio of 12.0 with the White Sox, and tallied a 1.111 WHIP as well. Tepera is a guy that the Phillies could acquire at a lower price than Jansen or Kelly, with a lot less wear and tear on his arm.
Rodriguez might sound a bit familiar, due to the fact that he was almost acquired by the Phillies at the trade deadline. There were rumors regarding Rodriguez in late July, as the Blue Jays and Phillies as two teams in the running for him. He would eventually sign with the Atlanta Braves but be left off of the NLDS roster.
Rodriguez has a career ERA of 3.28, and in his most recent season in 2021, he posted a 2.82 ERA with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before he was acquired by the Braves, Rodriguez threw 33 games with Pittsburgh, tallying 33 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.835. Rodriguez wouldn’t be the best option on the board, but with the current state of the Phillies bullpen, he would be an upgrade compared to the current roster.
Doolittle is on a downward slope in his career but is still a great relief pitcher to lefties. He pitched a 4.53 total ERA in 2021 with the Reds and Mariners, with 49.2 innings pitched, 53 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.470.
Most people know Doolittle from his 4 years in Washington, the best stint of his career. Doolittle’s best stats take place in the postseason, where he holds a career 2.42 ERA in October baseball. If the Phillies want to finally end their postseason drought, Doolittle could be the veteran reliever with 5 years of playoff experience that this team needs.
The Phillies bullpen is an issue of concern for 2022. If the team wants any shot of ending their decade-long playoff drought, they need to give a few of these guys a look in free agency.