SAN DIEGO -- Shortly after learning Tuesday that setup man Mike Adams was likely gone for the season with a shoulder injury (see story), Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. admitted he had no solution to fill the void created by Adams and fix the majors’ worst bullpen.
In other words, what you see is what you get with the Phillies’ bullpen.
“I think we’re going to go with what we’ve got right now,” Amaro said. “I view this as an opportunity for the young kids. It’s not ideal for us. But that’s how we have to view it."
While Amaro says he hopes the Phillies can push their way into contention, it sure sounds like they are in a developmental mode, at least in the bullpen.
“Right now, we don’t have any solutions," he said. "If we could find a solution to fill the hole or fill a need, we’ll try. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to try. I’ll be on the lookout for it. But based on the conversations I’ve had with teams already about these particular players who might be in play -- I’m not optimistic about that. A lot of people are looking for bullpen help and naturally demand is very high.
“The asking prices (for relievers) have been -- let’s just say they’re pretty strong, a little too strong for my liking. I’m not going to mortgage the future of our organization for a guy who might be able to help us in the seventh or eighth inning.”
The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game with a 4.68 bullpen ERA, the worst in the majors.
Jonathan Papelbon remains as closer for now -- he could be dealt if the Phils don’t make a serious run in the next month -- and Antonio Bastardo figures to get most of the eighth-inning work. Getting to those two will be the responsibility of Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman, J.C. Ramirez and Joe Savery. Jeremy Horst and Mike Stutes could be back in the picture when they come off the disabled list.
If the Phillies need reinforcements from Triple A they could look to Mauricio Robles, Cesar Jimenez, Raul Valdes or even Carlos Zambrano. The team signed veteran Mike MacDougal to a minor-league deal on Tuesday, but Amaro said he was viewed mostly as Triple A depth. The Cubs designated Carlos Marmol for assignment on Tuesday, but it's difficult to get enthused about a guy with a 5.86 ERA.
So what you see is what you get for now in the Phillies' bullpen.
“I’m particularly interested to see our young guys because they’re important parts of our future,” Amaro said. “I believe they have a lot of ability. It’s whether or not they can do it on a regular basis yet, but they have the ability to do it.”
The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club.
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story).
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million.
The Phillies' roster is full at 40.
Cody Asche's time with the Phillies has come to an end.
The Phillies claimed LHP David Rollins off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Asche was designated for assignment. The Phillies had until 8 p.m. on Friday to tender a contract to the outfielder, but they instead chose to free up the roster spot for Rollins.
Asche played four seasons with the Phillies from 2013-16 after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011. The St. Charles, Mo. native had a .213/.284/.350 batting line this past season over 71 games. His best season with the Phillies came as their starting third baseman in 2014, hitting 10 home runs and driving home 46 runs in 121 games.
Rollins has been on four different rosters this offseason. He pitched 31 games in relief for the Seattle Mariners over the last two seasons, sporting a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs 15 days after the World Series and then subsequently claimed again by the Rangers.
Rollins was a 24th round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft and was traded a year later to the Houston Astros. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners picked Rollins in the Rule 5 draft after the Astros chose not to protect him.