Philadelphia Phillies

Five free agent relief pitchers the Phillies should think about signing

It's time for the Phillies to improve the bullpen

Five free agent relief pitchers

It’s the week after Thanksgiving, and the Phillies haven’t signed anyone yet. I know that it is still relatively¬†early but come on Klentak. If you watched any of the 2018 season, you know that the Phillies need to add some pieces this offseason. I wrote an article about five free agent starting pitchers the Phillies should sign, this will be the same sort of thing, except with relievers. Obviously, the bullpen was a struggle for the Phillies in 2018, here is my list of five free agent relief pitchers the Phillies should think about signing.

#1 Adam Ottavino

Ottavino is my first of five free agent relief pitchers, and he had a career year in 2018 with the Colorado Rockies. He posted a 6-4 record with a 2.43 ERA in 77.2 innings. During those 77.2 innings, he stuck out 112 batters. The former first-round pick Ottavino posted a 2.0 WAR (which for a reliever is outstanding).

Ottavino would be my top priority in the bullpen if I’m the Phillies, and as of today, the 2019 reliever market has not been set. Meaning, I think the Phillies could sign Ottavino for relatively cheap after the season he just had.

My Offer: Ottavino has one of the best sliders in baseball, and comes from almost a side-arm slot. I would offer the 33-year-old a three-year deal worth $30M. Giving him $10M might be enough to make him a Philadelphia Phillie.

#2 Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel is my second of five free agent relief pitchers. I think everyone watched the 2018 World Series, and I think we all know that Kimbrel struggled. Kimbrel may have hurt his value enough for the Phillies to get him. Believe it or not, Kimbrel has a career ERA under 2.00. This past season, Kimbrel finished with 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA while striking out 96 batters in 62.1 innings. There is no question that his stuff plays, but at what cost?

I think Kimbrel would be a great piece to add to the Phillies bullpen, but I’m worried his asking price is going to be too high. The Atlanta Braves will certainly be in the mix for Kimbrel, and it doesn’t help the Phillies that he came up with Atlanta.

My Offer:¬†The league has made a point to pay a reliever, especially when he is the team’s closer. Depending on who else the Phillies sign, will depend on how much money I can give to Kimbrel. The question both Klentak and I have to ask ourselves is, how much is too much for a closer? I would offer the 31-year-old a five-year deal worth $75M, and I would give Kimbrel $15M a year, and he will anchor the back end of the Phillies bullpen.

#3 Zach Britton

Britton is the third of five free agent relief pitchers and might be the most interesting option for the Phillies. Britton came back from an Achilles¬†injury this past season, and he was not the same as the 2017 version. The former Oriole finished 2018 with a 3.10 ERA in 40.2 innings striking out 34 batters. This wasn’t too far from his career 3.21 ERA, but that is inflated because of his terrible numbers as a starter.

Britton is just 31 years old and has proven to be a reliable reliever. I think that his value has gone down considerably since his injury. Adding a lefty reliever is never a bad idea, and I think Britton is a much better option than the 34-year-old Andrew Miller.

My Offer: Britton has shown both his ability to succeed and struggle. I would offer Britton a 3-year deal worth $24M. Giving him $8M a year may not be enough to sign him, but if the Phillies can get him at this price, it will be worth it.

#4 Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia is the fourth of five free agent relief pitchers, and Phillies’ fans should know Familia from his time with the Mets. Familia finished the 2018 season with the Oakland A’s. His 2018 statistics were a 3.13 ERA in 72 innings and 83 strikeouts. Familia’s best pitch is his 95 MPH sinker. They say its heavy, which if you have ever hit a baseball before, you know that is not fun.

Familia could be a good, cheap option for the Phillies. Although the 29-year-old finished with a 1.8 WAR, I don’t think his asking price will be out of this world.

My Offer:¬†I would offer Familia the same contract as Britton. A three-year deal worth $24M. $8M may be enough to sign Familia, but if it isn’t, I would offer him a four-year deal instead of giving him a higher average salary.

#5 Kelvin Herrera

Herrera is the final option on my list of free agent relief pitchers. The 29-year-old Herrera was the staple of the World Series-winning Kansas City Royals’ bullpen. He was a flamethrower out of the bullpen, regularly hitting 100 MPH on the gun. In 2018, Herrera finished with a 2.44 ERA in just 44.1 innings, but Herrera’s strikeouts were down, he finished with just 38 on the season.

I would not sign Herrera to be the closer, but I do think he would help the bullpen. His postseason experience is something that you cannot quantify, and at 29-years-old Herrera seems like a good fit.

My Offer: Herrera is offered my cheapest deal here because I think his value is very low, and this is a move that I think the Phillies should make if they make a huge splash with a position player. (Hint Hint). I would give Herrera a 2-year deal worth $12M and an option for a third year. With an average of $6M a year, I think this will be enough to sign Herrera.

What a new bullpen could mean

There is no question that additions to the bullpen would certainly improve the Phillies, but the team to beat in the NL East is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves won 90 games and the NL East title in 2018. The only positive thing is if the Phillies sign one or more of these five free agent relief pitchers, I think they would have a better bullpen than the Braves. Just improving the bullpen will not guarantee the Phillies a spot in the playoffs, but it’s a start.

Statistics in this article are from mlb.com
Featured image via Flickr by Lianna Holub

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Alex Peters

My name is Alex Peters. I have been a baseball fanatic since I can remember. Right now I play baseball for Penn State York. I live and die for baseball. Winter is my least favorite season, I'm sure you can guess why.

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