The Case Of The Late-Innings Reliever

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 28, 2008 02:52 PM | Comments: 19

One of the glaring problems with the Phillies — especially since the injury to Tom Gordon — has been inconsistency and overworking at the back end of the bullpen.

The problem surfaced in ugly fashion last night, with Rudy Seanez having to pick up the slack while JC Romero, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson all sat in the bullpen unavailable. While Seanez is experienced, he works best in far-ahead or far-behind situations. His stuff doesn’t translate to late-inning high-pressure relief status.

We’ve seen that the Phils bullpen parts are clearly defined in their abilities. Romero should strictly work lefties, but can get out of big jams late in games. Durbin is best as a swing man capable of jetting through the middle innings. Condrey is a great long-innings reliever. Madson — while possessing the most setup experience of the four — seems to be better suited in the seventh inning (.208 BAA/.577 OPSA) than the eighth (.281 BAA/.708 OPSA).

With that knowledge, it seems achingly evident the Phillies should have a capable veteran right-hander who can get outs late in the game. And it would be almost too late to fix it. The only names that come to mind are David Weathers (3.45 ERA, 57.1 IP) and — gulp — Eric Gagne (6.35 ERA, 34 IP). I’m not saying a guy like this would be the primary setup man, but be used as a possibility for an out or two late in a game.

On the other hand, it’s valid to say these options are just like the one Charlie Manuel turned to last night — Seanez. In that case, could the Phillies live with Madson/Romero/Durbin taking turns in the eighth?

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I think you need another experiencd veteran back there. id take another guy in that mix. you can get away with setup man by committee for a while, but not in the playoffs. these guys need to have specifically defined roles for the chemistry to flow really welll.

  • Posts: 0 Sean

    hey guys, i have a question. what do u think the chances of victorino getting signed again next year?

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Victorino starts arbitration next year I think.

  • Posts: 0 Sean

    so is that a yes he probably will be coming back?

  • Posts: 0 gkit

    I believe Scott Eyre will eventually take over that role, and by the way I think you’re selling Seanez a little short. He has pitched very well this year including a pressure 13th inning the night before and he actually pitched well yesterday, just ran into a white hot Delgado who has historically owned him.

  • Posts: 0 Mike B.

    Brad Lidge should have gotten the Steve Jeltz Award last night. Just inexcusable giving up two big hits, especially the one to the Met rookie Murphy even though he was hitting .320 something.

  • Posts: 0 rocky

    why is it nobody is talking about manuel. He get the first two guys on in the seventh and doesn;t bunt. He had a lead that if he make shane bunt the mets have to walk werth and it base loaded with felix up and the infield up force santana to make great pitcher instead he lets him hit away. then to not bring in lidge to face delgaldo is a disgrace. You have to beat the mets and charlie to win the game.

  • Posts: 0 R.Mac

    Never utter Eric Gagne’s name on his fine website ever again. Ever.

  • Posts: 0 Jamie

    Sean, Victorino, Werth, Kendrick, Blanton, Hamels, Howard, and a slew of other younger players are not elligble for Free Agency yet, as they do not have enough time in the majors.

    For the first few years (it varies), the team can simply tender then to a specific contract, and the player doesn’t have a choice or chance to negotiate a salary. That’s what the Phils did this year for Victorino and Hamels, for instance – they just said “we’re paying you this much…sign here.”

    Once a player has triggered their arbitration years, the Phillies have the right to decide if they want them back. If they don’t, the Phils decline arbitration and the player becomes a free agent. If the Phils decide they want the player back next year, they offer them arbitration. The two sides then exchange figures and try to come to an agreement on a salary for the year, which 99.9% of the time they do. In rare circumstances, like Ryan Howard this year, they cannot come to an agreement, so an arbitrator decides how much they are to be paid for the year.

    Typically, players are not able to file for free agency until they have been on a major league roster for six years, so teams control the rights to their players for essentially the first 1/3 of their careers.

    So, to answer your question, there is absolutely NO CHANCE that we will be without Victorino, Hamels, or any of those other younger players for several more years, unless we trade them.

  • Posts: 0 rocky

    99 % of the time they sign. But Howard took less and wouldn’t sign. and Hamels took less than arbiration and wouldn’t sign because he feels the phillies were low balling him. I agree on hamels not on howard.

  • Posts: 0 Jamie

    rocky, what do you mean “Hamels took less than arbitration and wouldn’t sign?” he did sign his contract for the year – that’s why he’s playing – and he’s not yet eligible for arbitration. perhaps you’re confused.

  • Posts: 0 rocky

    Jamie he refused to sign for the amount the phillies offered and they renew him at seventy thousand dollars less the same with howard last year he was renew at one hundred thousand dollars less because he felt they were low balling him.the year on howard was last season not this year.

  • Posts: 0 rocky

    Jamie ask any writer and they will tell you that both players were renew without signature on a contract.

  • Posts: 0 Jamie

    rocky, part of the problem is your grammar in those posts are atrocious.

    What does “he refused to sign for the amount the phillies offered and they renew him at seventy thousand dollars less the same with howard last year he was renew at one hundred thousand dollars less because he felt they were low balling him.the year on howard was last season not this year.” mean? Hamels is NOT eligible for arbitration and has to play on a tendered contract – whatever the Phils decide to pay him. Howard is different, because he IS arbitration eligible. He had the artibrator decide his salary this year.

    Maybe you and I are on the same page, your posts are just confusing because of the way they are written. At any rate, Hamels et al are ours, and we should be happy for that!

  • Posts: 0 Sean

    Jamie thank you so much for explaining that!

  • Posts: 0 Jamie

    No problem Sean.

  • Posts: 0 rocky

    The way it was explain to me was the phillies offered Hamels a certain amount.When he refused to sign the contract they renew him at a lesser amount. Last year howard was offered ninehundred thousand. He wouldn’t sign that contract and was renew at less for not signing the deal.Sorry for the grammer.

  • Posts: 0 J. Thomas

    Do you think we will live long enough to see a Manager discard the ‘Manager’s Bible’? More important than bringing in the right relief pitcher is to know when and when not to relieve. There was a time when the ‘Bible’ said you left your starter with a lead go until he put the tying run on first after the 6th inning. No concern about whether he had thrown 90 pitches or 100.. and if you had a young, healthy pitcher..150.

    If Charlie would have thrown the ‘Bible’ away tonight, Cole might have won..or maybe not; makes no difference.

    100 pitches…Set up Man(men) Closer. seems to be the way of baseball life..and death.

  • Posts: 0 Whisky Priest

    I think Cole has proven he can go deep, and he wasn’t in any danger. Granted, he’s got a lot of innings on him so far this year, but the bullpen clearly needs a rest.

Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:

Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.