Friday, December 18, 2015

Phillies Sign Veteran Closers


Reclamation Closers – The Phillies entered last season with a mostly inexperienced bullpen, other than closer Jonathan Papelbon. Next season could look a little different. The Phillies on Thursday announced they have signed right-handers Andrew Bailey and Edward Mujica to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training. It continues a trend of the Phils acquiring veteran relievers at a relatively minimal cost. They previously signed David Hernandez to a one-year, $3.9 million contract, but they also signed Ernesto Frieri and James Russell to Minor League contracts and claimed Michael Mariot off waivers from the Royals. Bailey, 31, grew up in southern New Jersey and attended Paul VI High School in Haddonfield. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award with the A's in 2009, and he made the AL All-Star team in 2009 and '10. But a shoulder injury has limited Bailey to just 59 games in the previous four seasons, including 10 last year with the Yankees. Bailey posted a 1.80 ERA in 28 appearances in the Minor Leagues in 2015 before posting a 5.19 ERA with New York. Before injuries hit, he had a 2.07 ERA with 75 saves in 84 chances from 2009-11. Mujica, 31, went 3-5 with a 4.75 ERA and one save in 49 appearances last season with the Red Sox and A's. He made the National League All-Star team with the Cardinals in 2013 and has a 3.85 ERA in 494 appearances in his career. The recent bullpen additions should create plenty of competition in Spring Training. Besides Hernandez, Bailey, Mujica, Frieri, Russell and Mariot, the Phillies return Elvis Araujo, Luis Garcia, Jeanmar Gomez, Dalier Hinojosa, Mario Hollands, Hector Neris and others. They also selected left-hander Daniel Stumpf last week in the Rule 5 Draft. It is worth nothing that recently acquired Brett Oberholtzer is a candidate for a rotation job, but if he does not start, he seems like a favorite to make the bullpen, because he is out of options. Gomez also is out of options. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said earlier this week that he has received calls from players looking for an opportunity to close since Ken Giles was traded to the Astros, so the possibility exists that Philadelphia could bring more veterans into camp.

The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! However, at least Ryan Madson got another ring this year.

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