December 07, 2022
The Phillies bolstered their starting rotation with the addition of Taijuan Walker then, somewhat quietly, fortified their bullpen when word broke late Tuesday night that they were closing in on a two-year, $15 million deal for lefty Matt Strahm as well.
Strahm spent the 2022 season with the Red Sox on a one-year contract and held up well as a reliever after injuries brought an end to his four-year run in San Diego that split between starting and relieving.
In 50 appearances for Boston last season, the 31-year-old southpaw went 4-4, pitching 44.2 innings with a 3.83 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, and 52 strikeouts.
With a fastball and sinker in the mid-90s, complemented by several breaking pitches in the mid 80s to low 90s (changeup, slider, curveball), the hope is Strahm will give the Phils a highly reliable arm out of the pen – something they've consistently struggled to find over the last several years – along with more varied looks for manager Rob Thomson to work with.
With things as they stand right now, the bullpen consists of righthanders Seranthony Domínguez, Andrew Bellatti, Connor Brogdon, Nick Nelson, and hard-throwing lefty José Alvarado. So the addition of Strahm, when the deal becomes official, should bring a bit more balance following the departures of Brad Hand, Corey Knebel, David Robertson, and Zach Eflin.
|Lefthanded Relievers||Righthanded Relievers|
|José Alvarado||Seranthony Domínguez|
|Matt Strahm||Andrew Bellatti|
|-||Sam Coonrod (minors)|
More for hitters to fear in the later innings too, especially if the Phillies are back in the postseason next October, which owner John Middleton and team president Dave Dombrowski are more than gunning for with the way they've spent this week.
Even though the bullpen got by, largely off the backs of Domínguez, Alvarado, and a converted Eflin (now with Tampa Bay), relief pitching was never one of the Phillies' strengths and it caught up to them against the Astros in the World Series when an undermanned staff finally got stretched too thin.
Another option in Strahm absolutely helps, but depth is everything in the later months of the season and then into the playoffs, so don't expect the Phillies to entirely close up shop after a very fruitful winter meetings.
You need as many arms as you can get.
"We know how important depth is," Dombrowski said of the Phillies' offseason plans last month. "So we're open-minded to that...I think like almost every other club in baseball, we're going to be open-minded to the relief pitching. We lost some of those guys too, even though we have a nice foundation of Seranthony, Alvarado, and Brogdon back, and some other people back there."
A look at the Phillies' current bullpen and their 2022 regular seasons by the numbers:
|LH Matt Strahm||50||44.2||3.83||1.23||52||17|
|LH José Alvarado||59||51.0||3.18||1.22||81||24|
|RH Seranthony Domínguez||54||51.0||3.00||1.14||61||22|
|RH Andrew Bellatti||59||54.1||3.31||1.33||78||25|
|RH Connor Brogdon||47||44.0||3..27||1.25||50||11|
|RH Sam Coonrod*||12||12.2||7.82||1.50||12||7|
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports