Three things the Phillies can do right now to improve the bullpen for 2019

Seranthony Dominguez as the Phillies closer in 2019?
The bullpen last year for the Phillies was mediocre, ending the season with an identical number of wins and losses (26) while finishing in the middle of the pack in ERA and WHIP.

Here are three things that the organization can do this offseason to improve the relief corps for 2019.

Set expectations and boundaries
Manager Gabe Kapler looked like a madman at times when calling on the bullpen last season. Defined roles didn't exist, and the guessing game clearly hampered some guys early in the season. Kapler now has a year under his belt managing so, ideally, he has a better understanding of how to handle a group of eight or nine pitchers over the span of a 162-game season.

Name a closer
Seranthony Dominguez looked the part for a brief time last year, but Kapler never ventured out and defined a closer. It's tough to be a contender and not have an already decided arm for the ninth inning. The club could turn to the free agent market and potentially target Zach Britton or Craig Kimbrel, or give the job to Dominguez and secure a top of the line set-up guy like Adam Ottavino. Either way, it's tough to see the closer-by-committee thing working and the Phillies taking a step forward.

Improve the back-end of the rotation
The stronger the rotation, the less pressure on the bullpen. If the Phillies go out and sign a free agent to sure up the rotation behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta then it means the bullpen will avoid over-usage which was a concern at points last season.
_____________________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: