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June 06, 2019

MLB Rumors: Phillies' bullpen options include Will Smith, Ken Giles, others after Craig Kimbrel leaves market

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Ken-Giles-Blue-Jays-Phillies_060619_USAT Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports

Ken Giles could find a new home before the trade deadline. Will the Phillies be calling?

MLB bullpens are typically comprised of seven or eight pitchers. After Friday's addition of Seranthony Dominguez, the Phillies have seven relief pitchers currently on the disabled list.

Here's how the pen looked on opening day — and how it looks today:

March 28June 6
David Robertson
Austin Davis 
Seranthony Dominguez Vince Velasquez
Hector Neris
Hector Neris
Pat Neshek
Edgar Garcia
Adam Morgan
J.D. Hammer 
Jose Alvarez
Jose Alvarez 
Juan Nicasio
Juan Nicasio 
Edubray Ramos
Ranger Suarez

Bold: currently on the injured list

Add to those five Tommy Hunter, who hasn't yet pitched, and Victor Arano, who likely won't pitch again. It's getting to be a bit much.

The Phillies are in the middle of the pack when it comes to bullpen ERA (12th), innings pitched (18th), and batting average against (21st) — though surprisingly, their 18 saves are the seventh most in baseball. This in and of itself is worthy of upgrading. Add in these incessant injuries, and the situation becomes more dire. It is unclear what they may get from called up prospect Suarez, but he has struggled in Triple-A and may not be up long.

Clearly, as they cling to first place, the Phillies need to stabilize the pen if they want to continue to contend. Several injured hurlers are likely to come off the injured list in the coming weeks, but even at full strength the Phillies relief corps have been less than stellar. A trade (at least one), seems like a likely option.

Wednesday Craig Kimbrel finally came off the market as the Cubs reached a deal with the best available relief pitcher out there anywhere. What do the Phillies do now?

We combed through the rosters and payrolls of all the non-contending MLB teams likely to be sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Here's a look at seven relievers who are good fits with the Phils, and are likely to be moved before July 31:

Ken Giles, Blue Jays

Once a member of the Phillies, Giles has won a World Series (in Houston) and has pitched against some of the best hitters in baseball in the AL East during his three-plus years away from Philly. There appears to be a potential reunion. 

Giles has ample closing experience with 102 saves and, at just 28 years old, could theoretically still be a piece in the Phillies bullpen longterm. He is currently mowing down hitters with a 1.80 ERA over 25 innings this season and has one more arbitration season before becoming a free agent in 2021, giving Philly time to determine if they want to keep him beyond that. He will likely be one of the more expensive options prospect-wise.

Daniel Hudson, Blue Jays

A lesser option, also from the struggling Blue Jays, is veteran former starter-turned-reliever Daniel Hudson, who has a 3.62 ERA this season. He has an expiring deal and is making just $1.5 million this season and could be cheaply had on the trade market.

Jake Diekman, Royals

Another re-tread? The Phillies could use a lefty and Diekman is one of the few on a selling team. Though he's never posted eye-popping numbers, as a lefty specialist down the stretch this season, Diekman, a Phillie for his first four big league seasons, may be a good fit. He has a mutual option for the 2020 season.

Will Smith, Giants

Smith, just 29 (a baby in bullpen years) is having a career season with a 2.38 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 22.2 innings, with 13 saves. He is a lefty and a consistent one at that, with a 3.60 career ERA over seven campaigns. The Giants are way out of things in the NL West and with an expiring contract, they'll have plenty of motivation to move Smith before the trade deadline.

Shane Greene, Tigers

Greene is having a wasted great season. He's allowed just three earned runs in 25 innings for the lowly Tigers. He has one more year of arbitration left, which will make him a little more expensive compensation-wise as compared to some other hurlers on expiring deals, but Detroit is no where near sniffing the postseason and will be open to offers.

Cory Gearrin, Mariners

Would the Phillies make a third trade with Seattle this season? Gearrin is on an expiring deal and while he may not be pitching at his best, he has a career 3.60 ERA and has historically been an innings eater. He could be another cheap option.

Sergio Romo, Marlins

Romo is a 12-year MLB veteran who has pitched in some of the biggest games of the last decade. He's not the pitcher he used to be at 36, but he's playing for the dead last place Marlins and has an expiring contract. Philly could probably get him for basically nothing and have him lead in the locker room and also occasionally close games if necessary.


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