Philadelphia Phillies: 6 Bullpen Arms to Target in a Trade
The Philadelphia Phillies are off to a rare hot start to begin the season. They have suffered several injuries to pitchers already this season, which raises concerns for later in the season.
A strong bullpen is essential to make a run in the playoffs. With Brad Lidge out for an undisclosed amount of time, Jose Contreras on the DL and guys like Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero having injuries in the past, the Phillies could be looking for some insurance to anchor the bullpen.
Here are six trade targets that could supply some much-needed depth in the bullpen.
Closer: Ryan Franklin
The Phillies and Brad Lidge have had a rocky relationship since his perfect season in 2008. Lidge has spent time on the DL and has several blown saves. His tenure in Philadelphia could be in question with a club option in his contract for the 2012 season.
One guy the Phillies could target in a trade would be Ryan Franklin. In the last three seasons, Franklin has 82 saves, averaging around 30 a year. The Phillies have a team that, when healthy, can produce both on offense and defense and could hold a lead.
Franklin would have the opportunity to come in and pick up saves for the Phillies, which would put Madson back into the setup role and put Contreras back as a middle-relief pitcher.
Closer: Neftali Feliz
At just 23 years of age, Feliz has a bright future ahead of him in MLB. He had a breakout season in 2010 during the Rangers' run to the World Series. Feliz had 40 saves, good for fifth-best in baseball.
The Phillies would be able to pick up Feliz at a low cost with it being just his third season, and they would be able to obtain a closer that they could rely on for years to come.
Like with Franklin, the addition of Feliz would put guys back into their normal roles in the bullpen, which would also add strength to the Phillies pen.
Setup Man: Brad Ziegler
Ziegler is not an overpowering pitcher like Ryan Madson can be, but he has been effective in the past in keeping leads and setting up A's closer Andrew Bailey.
He has a career ERA of 2.28 and has only allowed eight home runs in over 200 innings pitched. His unorthodox pitching style keeps hitters off balance, making him even more effective.
Should Lidge be out for an extended period of time and the Phillies decide to keep Madson as the closer, Ziegler could be targeted as a setup man.
Setup Man: Aroldis Chapman
Chapman is a high-risk, high-reward type of player. Given that he is in just his second season in the big leagues, he has a lot to prove yet. However, the Phillies could possibly target him again if Lidge would go down and Madson would fill in as a closer.
Chapman is a very overpowering pitcher when he has control. He has already set the MLB record for hardest pitch at 105 miles per hour. Again, Chapman is a very risky kind of player, but he could be a very effective setup man in the Phillies bullpen.
Middle Relief: Rafael Betancourt
Betancourt is a pretty solid middle-relief pitcher who could add depth for Philadelphia. He has plenty of experience and has a career ERA of 3.29. He also already has 10 holds this season, leading the majors.
The Phillies could use depth in the middle of their bullpen to back up guys like Romero and Antonio Bastardo. Betancourt could fill in the gap left by Chad Durbin when he signed with the Cleveland Indians this offseason.
Middle Relief: Jonny Venters
Venters is another young arm that could add depth for Philly. As a rookie with Atlanta last season, Venters appeared in 79 games and posted a 1.95 ERA and 93 strikeouts. So far in 2011, he has a 0.92 ERA with eight holds and a 2-0 record. Venters has shown he is a good situational pitcher, as well as just coming in for an inning of work.
The Phillies could have a tough time making a deal for Venters because of trading within the division. However, he is a guy that they could seriously target to use as one of their main relief pitchers.