The bullpen was far from the Phillies’ biggest problems during the 2015 season. It was no large on talent and often was forced into using inferior pitchers due to a pitiful starting rotation. But with the departures of Jake Diekman and Jonathan Papelbon (and to a much lesser extent Justin De Fratus) the bullpen was left short on experience. Some of the Phillies’ young hard throwers filled in down the stretch, but overall the bullpen was left wide open in front of Ken Giles. Matt Klentak has attacked this problem by using the #1 waiver claim to acquire a bunch of flotsam cast off by other orgs to bring a real competition to camp on the right handed side of the bullpen.
Between waiver claims and 40 man roster adds, the Phillies now stand at 12 right handed relievers on the roster. That list of illustrious names is A.J. Achter, Jimmy Cordero, Luis Garcia, Ken Giles, Jeanmar Gomez, Dalier Hinojosa, Michael Mariot, Colton Murray, Hector Neris, Nefi Ogando, Dan Otero, and Edubray Ramos. Outside Giles, no one is inspiring fear in opposing hitters, yet. But the goal here is to find 4-5 guys able to hold down the majors with another 4-5 guys waiting as depth to catch them when they stumble.
Mariot fits right into this, he has another minor league option, he throws hard-ish (91-95 touching 97), he has some semblance of control. What he lacks is overpowering secondary pitches, and with that kind of arsenal he was buried in a Royals org rich with hard throwing right handed arms. Like nearly every other member of the bullpen, the Phillies have essentially nothing invested in him, so sending him along his way if he fails won’t be a problem.
The Phillies are not going to be able to carry all of these arms through the season, and right now the one guy who is arb eligible (Jeanmar Gomez) probably just moved to the front of the line to lose his spot. None of the waiver acquisitions are going to make huge impacts, but free middle relief depth is nothing to scoff at. If Klentak can manage his way through the 40 man log jam he is creating he will have given the Phillies some free depth at the cost of nothing. It won’t bring a championship but it is a good sign for new management.