It’s no secret that the bullpen in Philadelphia has been struggling. And it’s as awful on paper as it is when watching.
Not one arm has amassed a WAR (wins above replacement) above one, and eight have negative WAR. Also, six pitchers have a walk per nine inning rate above five. These statistics are appalling.
It gets ever worse when you compare them to other teams. The Phillies bullpen is in the bottom three in the National League in all of the following categories: walks (154, which is the worst), saves (22, which is the worst), earned run average (4.26, which is the worst), runs (178, which is third worst), and batting average against (.262, second worst).
Now, how to rebuild it? Well first of all, we need to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon. While he hasn’t done well in pinstripes, he is still recognized as one of the better closers in Major League Baseball and Ruben Amaro Jr. must take advantage of this. And fast. But we can’t flip him for a closer. We have a closer in Triple-A by the name of Philippe Aumont. Aumont is a flamethrower and has some big league experience. He pitched 40 innings for the Phillies between 2012 and 2013, and recorded two saves last year.
We should Mike Adams one more year, and besides him go young. We have solid relievers in our minor league system that can come up and help the Phillies. Adams will serve as the veteran arm that will help teach the young newbies.
The answer to the Phillies bullpen problems, much like some of the other issues, is to go young, and give up on yesterday’s stars. If we do end up trading some of our bigger names (Cliff Lee, Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins, or Chase Utley), getting a young reliever in the deal wouldn’t be a bad idea.