Is there a slight chance of postseason glory for the Philadelphia Phillies? Absolutely. But are the odds in their favor? Absolutely not.
At this point, barring any significant hot streak, the Phillies are looking ahead to 2013 and this offseason will be a big determining factor in whether the Phils can regain their former glory next year. GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. will have many holes to fill, including third base, center field, one or both of the corner outfield spots, a starting pitcher and a proven veteran or two in the bullpen.
While the positional decisions will almost surely be prioritized, a portion of the team that can't be forgotten is the bullpen. It's undoubtedly been the Phillies' biggest weakness this season. The team's 4.44 bullpen ERA ranks 26th out of 30 teams in the majors, and the AL team with the worst bullpen record, the Cleveland Indians, sit only at 4.07 and two spots ahead of the Fightins'. That's when you know there's a problem.
As free agency approaches, the Phillies will have to make sure that improving the bullpen is not at the bottom of their offseason shopping list. They do have almost too many relievers waiting in the wings in the minor leagues, and although a good number of them will be given the opportunity to contribute, the Phillies also need a proven veteran aside from Jonathan Papelbon.
Without further ado, here are the best ways the Phillies can improve their bullpen going forward via free agency.