One of the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest weaknesses in 2012 was their lack of reliable bullpen depth. Behind newly-signed closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies lacked a true veteran presence to anchor their younger pitchers.
Options such as Jose Contreras and Michael Stutes, both pitchers who had experience out of the Phillies' bullpen, were injured for most of the season, rendering the Phillies without any proven options besides Papelbon.
In the offseason, the Phillies filled the need in grand fashion, signing veteran right-handed setup man Mike Adams to a two-year contract worth $12 million.
Adams has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last five years or so, but he did have surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, making him a bigger risk. Luckily for the Phillies, that also means that Adams could come with a higher reward, and they signed him for a relative bargain as a result.
With Papelbon and Adams in tow, it seemed as though the Phillies were set internally to fill the remaining five bullpen spots. However, in an unexpected (and arguably redundant) move, the Phillies brought Chad Durbin back to town on a one-year deal early last week.
With three right-handed veteran arms and a relief spot likely guaranteed for left-hander Antonio Bastardo, only three relief positions remain for the Phillies. While the competition will be interesting to watch, it is a shame that some of the major league-ready arms the Phillies have will not have the opportunity to play at their skill level due to lack of space.
There are some arms who can be trusted in this Phillies bullpen and others who have a ways to go in that regard. The good news is that all the younger players who had experience last season have some major league experience under their belts and can be tweaked further if necessary in spring training.
For all intents and purposes, the seven arms I am going to rank in terms of dependability (and thus making the roster out of spring training) are Adams, Bastardo, Durbin, Justin De Fratus, Jeremy Horst, Papelbon and Stutes. Not all will be easy to rank in terms of statistics, so some subjectivity will have to be included in this piece.
Nevertheless, I give you the Phillies' bullpen arms ranked by trustworthiness.