HomeOther Philly SportsThe Phillies’ Roster Finds the Perfect Fit in Jordan Hicks

The Phillies’ Roster Finds the Perfect Fit in Jordan Hicks

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Phillies fans are getting restless.

It’s no surprise; Dave Dombrowski has made some huge additions in each of the past two offseasons, signing All-Stars Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Trea Turner. This year, however, the team’s big star signing was fairly anticlimactic. It’s great that Aaron Nola isn’t going anywhere, but re-signing Nola doesn’t make the Phillies any better.

Yet truth be told, Philadelphia doesn’t have many places to improve. After all, we’re talking about a team that has reached the NLCS in back-to-back years. They may not be the Braves or the Dodgers, but they’re easily the third-best team in the National League.

The Phillies have five starters for the rotation. They could use some more depth, but they don’t need to go out and sign Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell – no matter what the rumor mill would have you believe.

They also have a lineup filled with talented players from one to nine. Dombrowski could add a piece in the outfield, but Johan Rojas plays a strong enough center field that the Phils don’t have to upgrade unless they make the right deal with the right player.

That leaves the bullpen as the only obvious place for a major free agent acquisition. The Phillies already have one of the nastiest arm barns in baseball, replete with dominant back-end talent and serviceable minor league depth. Still, they have one or two Opening Day bullpen spots up for grabs.

Here’s an approximation of what the Phillies bullpen would look like if the season started tomorrow:

Pitcher 2023 Key Stats 2024 Steamer Projections
José Alvarado (LHP) 41.1 IP, 1.74 ERA, 1.3 fWAR 3.02 ERA, 1.2 WAR
Seranthony Domínguez 50 IP, 3.78 ERA, 0.1 fWAR 3.95 ERA, 0.6 WAR
Gregory Soto (LHP) 60.1 IP, 4.62 ERA, 0.9 fWAR 3.60 ERA, 0.6 WAR
Jeff Hoffman 52.1 IP, 2.41 ERA, 1.5 fWAR 3.87 ERA, 0.6 WAR
Matt Strahm (LHP) 54.1 IP (relief), 2.82 ERA, 0.9 fWAR 3.54 ERA, 0.8 WAR
Orion Kerkering MiLB: 53.2 IP, 1.51 ERA, 79 K 3.74 ERA, 0.6 WAR
Dylan Covey 43 IP, 3.77 ERA, 0.0 fWAR 4.30 ERA, 0.2 WAR
Andrew Bellatti 24.2 IP, 5.11 ERA, 0.1 fWAR 4.42 ERA, 0.2 WAR
AdditionAL Depth
Yunior Marte 39.1 IP, 5.03 ERA, 0.2 fWAR 4.11 ERA, 0.3 WAR
Connor Brogdon 28.1 IP, 4.13 ERA, -0.1 fWAR 4.39 ERA, 0.1 WAR
Luis F. Ortiz 19 IP, 3.32 ERA, 0.2 fWAR 4.32 ERA, 0.1 WAR
Nick Nelson MiLB: 20 GS, 97.1 IP, 4.35 ERA 63 IP, 4.79 ERA, 0.3 fWAR
José Ruiz 44.1 IP, 5.89 ERA, -0.6 fWAR 21 IP, 4.31 ERA, 0.1 fWAR

Barring an injury, those first six spots – from Alvarado to Kerkering – are set in stone. Dylan Covey was surprisingly effective in a mop-up role last season, but he’s out of options, so the Phillies shouldn’t be afraid to cut him and his $850,000 salary if a better option is available.

More importantly, though, Philadelphia can’t go into 2024 with Andrew Bellatti (or Yunior Marte/Connor Brogdon/etc.) on the Opening Day roster. Bellatti was terrific in 2022, but whatever magic beans he was using lost their powers this past season:

Season ERA XERA FIP XFIP FWAR
2022 3.31 3.64 2.87 3.37 1.0
2023 5.11 5.00 4.80 4.97 0.1

Simply put, the Phillies can’t just wait around for Bellatti to figure things out – they’ve already tried that. It’s a similar story with Connor Brogdon, who looked like a shell of his former self in 2023.

Thus, if nothing else, the Phillies need a better solution for that final spot in the bullpen.

And this is where Jordan Hicks enters the picture.

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