I told you all to buckle up.
The Phillies continued the roster turnover on Friday, as they declined the options of RHPs David Robertson, Hector Neris, and David Phelps, keeping up with what has been a pretty busy week for the team.
Robertson, who signed a two-year deal worth $23 million guaranteed in January of 2019, pitched a total of 6.2 innings with the Phillies over the life of that contract. After spending 11 very productive and durable seasons with the Yankees, Robertson was brought over to Philadelphia to fill the set up man role for Neris. However, as many Philadelphia sports figures have in recent memory, Robertson succumbed to the dreaded injury bug. Robertson underwent Tommy John in May of last year and was lost for at least 12-15 months. He then underwent a setback when gearing up for the shortened 2020 season, likely putting in to motion his exit from the team. He likely wasn’t going to be on the team next season, as $12 million would have been to a lot to pay for a pitcher with his injury history. It would have been nice, though, to get more than 6.2 innings out of a big free agent signings from a few years ago.
Especially when you take into consideration how bad the bullpen was this season.
Neris was scheduled to make $7 million this year if the Phillies had picked up his option, but his performance this season just didn’t justify that much money. In 21.2 innings, Neris pitched to a 4.57 ERA with a K/BB ratio of 27-13 and having a WHIP of 1.71. Pitchers who lean on their splitters as much as Neris does tend to be more volatile, and it clearly showed this season. His splitter just wasn’t good this year, but he still threw it 48.1% of the time. While he will still be under team control via arbitration for the 2021 season, the Phillies need to go out and find more established and effective backend bullpen pieces. Neris fits more into a 7th/8th inning role, as opposed to closer.
Phelps, acquired at the deadline for three low minors pitchers, got here and began immediately getting torched. After a successful start of the year with Milwaukee, Phelps came to Philly and pitched to a tune of an ERA of 12.91 in 7.2 innings. In a little more than half of the innings he pitched with the Brew Crew, Phelps gave up more than double the HRs with the Phillies (5 HRs in 7.2 vs 2 HRs in 13.0). Whatever type of groove he was in to start the season had completely evaporated. The Phillies held a $4.5 million option over Phelps for 2021, but, instead paid the $250K buyout.
Just spit balling here, but the Braves outrighted Darren O’Day yesterday. He’s scheduled to make $3.5 million next year. While I know all the talk has been about Brad Hand, and rightfully so, O’Day might not be a bad person to bring in to replace Phelps.
The Phillies haven’t only cut ties with pitchers over the last few days, as they claimed 6’9″ Johan Quezada off waivers from the Miami Marlins today as well. The 26-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is a sinker/slider pitcher who has shown some ability in his time in the minors. In his short time in the Big Leagues, Quezada averaged 97 mph on his fastball. It’s never a bad idea to take a chance on a guy that has that kind of stuff.
I said that this was going to be a busy few weeks for the team, and it is certainly looking to be the case.
Let’s hope we start adding players to the team instead of subtracting them. Lord knows we need all the help we can get.