Tommy Hunter and the 8 Man Bullpen

Another day, another reliever contract for the Phillies. Yesterday the Phillies reportedly agreed to a 2 year $18M deal with free agent right hander Tommy Hunter.  The 31 year old Hunter has been an effective reliever for many year, but last year went to a new level with the Tampa Bay Rays as his strikeout rate shot up. Hunter started throwing his fastball less and harder while at the same time throwing more of his cutter which was around 94 instead of it’s previous 90. With his K% up over 10% on 2016, Hunter was able to post a 2.61 ERA on the season.

Hunter on his own is a solid addition. He isn’t a closer, and he probably isn’t a set up guy for the Phillies, but he should give Gabe Kapler another mid innings arm. This brings us to something that Matt Gelb mentioned yesterday. The Phillies are strongly thinking about going with an 8 man bullpen. In general I am opposed to 8 man bullpens because they leave a team’s bench a bit thin, but in this case the Phillies’ personnel was already leaning heavy towards this strategy. Continue reading…

Phillies Bring Back Pat Neshek and Other Winter Meeting Rumblings

The big news in the baseball world over the past few days is the Phillies bringing back right handed reliever Pat Neshek on what is reportedly a 2 year $16M deal with a team option for a 3rd year. Neshek was the Phillies lone All-Star last year before being traded to Colorado for Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer, and Alejandro Requena at the deadline. Between the two teams Neshek pitched 62.1 innings with a 1.59 ERA. This deal covers Neshek’s age 37 and 38 seasons, but he has also been very good into his 30s which alleviates some of the concerns. The Phillies won’t be counting on Neshek to repeat his 2017 season, nor are they getting him to be their closer, but the move helps stabilize a Phillies bullpen on the rise. Neshek will rejoin the bullpen core of Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos as well as 2017 breakouts Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia. As of right now it looks like Hoby Milner will join them with the last spot either being filled with another FA acquisition or an internal option like Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, Ricardo Pinto, or any other starter moving to the bullpen. It isn’t an elite level bullpen, but if Garcia and Morgan can repeat their 2017 seasons, it has the upside to be very good. This might end up a bit of a monetary overpay, but Neshek was very good last year and liked his time with the Phillies, and even if it goes south the Phillies have solidified up the late innings. Continue reading…