The Phillies Bullpen Needs a Facelift and Needs it Now

Posted by Frank Klose

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Last night's Phillies game was an all-out disaster.  Even though starter Roy Halladay struggled, he did not pitch so poorly that the Phillies should have had a chance.   Granted, the Phillies should have scored some runs, but only down 4-0 with two outs in the seventh inning, there should have been a reliever who could come in and get one out, and give the Phillies three innings to score four runs, something not out of the question.

In today's High Cheese post on, Dave Murphy makes the case for adding Mike Stutes to the Phillies' roster, and brings up some astounding numbers:

  • Phillies relievers have the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio in the NL at 1.35
  • On the season, Phillies relievers have allowed 8 of 18 inherited runners to score
  • Phillies relievers are averaging just 6.2 strikeouts-per-nine innings

David Herndon was plucked out of AA in the Angels' system, and carried the duration of the season to keep him. Granted, he would probably not be on the major league roster right now had Brad Lidge been not injured, but there are clearly better options.

Right now, as Murphy notes, the Phillies are tying up three bullpen spots with relievers that pretty much only have the ability to do the same thing: mop-up.   The numbers indicate that they cannot throw strikes, are walking entirely way too many batters, and cannot strand inherited runners.

In my post the Monday night, I looked at options to replace J.C. Romero who had just left the game with an injury.   Reality is, at least two on the list are better than what they have on their major league roster.

What would I do?  I would start by sending David Herdon to AAA.  Herndon was supposed to be ticketed for AAA this year, and he could benefit to get the development he otherwise never had.  Hell, the Phillies did not even include Herndon on the team photo card set, so nobody will miss him.

Secondly, Vance Worley (as Murphy mentions) could be a better option than Kyle Kendrick.  Despite the fact Kendrick makes $2.35 million, he does have a minor league option.  The long man role might suit him on a team where there is regular work, but aside from Blanton days, there is seldom work for Kendrick.   Perhaps a team who needs a starter will see his double-digit wins from last season and trade for him.

 The Phillies dream-rotation has already featured a poor Hamels start, a poor Lee start, and a poor Halladay start, so overlooking the bullpen is not the option we thought of before.