The Philadelphia Phillies are making every effort to get back to the World Series.
With a record of 87-75, the Phillies finished in third place in the National League East. They were 14 games behind the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, who both finished 101-61.
In the postseason, the surging Phillies surprised the baseball world by winning the National League pennant. They then lost in Game 6 of the World Series to the Houston Astros.
The Phillies spent the offseason improving and fine-tuning their roster.
In today’s MLB, starting pitchers often hand their game over to the bullpen before the third time in the batting order. That makes having a deep and reliable bullpen a necessary component of a winning baseball team.
Most MLB teams are lucky to have one reliable, dependable closer on their roster.
The Phillies have an abundance of wealth in the back end of their bullpen.
Manager Rob Thomson can turn to any of the closers, from right-hander Serantoni Dominguez, left-hander Jose Alvarado, right-handed free agent rookie Craig Kimbrel or left-hander Gregory Soto, who was recently added to the club in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. .
Phillies President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski has earned an outstanding reputation for building winning MLB rosters.
Before coming to the Phillies, Dombrowski had success with the Chicago White Sox, Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.
Even with all the success he’s had, one criticism dogged Dombrowski during his days with both the Tigers and Red Sox. he did not perfect their ineffective bulls.
In their quest to return to the World Series, the Phillies added All-Star shortstop Trey Turner as a free agent. Turner is projected to lead a very deep lineup that includes Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, JT Realmuto and Nick Castellanos as the starting five. All-Star Bryce Harper will recover from Tommy John surgery.
The Phillies also signed free agent right-handed starter Taijuan Walker to their rotation. He’ll join right-handers Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, along with left-handers Ranger Suarez and Bailey Falter to round out a reliable starting five.
Adding a five-tool star player like Turner adds a formidable offensive catalyst for the Phillies. Having Walker on the mound to help eat up innings bolsters a shallow but effective rotation.
Signing Turner and Walker were great moves. But having four experienced relievers at the end of games has implications for the composition of the Phillies 2023 roster. Free agent left-hander Matt Strahm will also join the fold, likely to pitch in the middle innings.
Serantoni Dominguez-RHP-28 years old
Seranthony Dominguez was signed as an international free agent in 2011 from the Dominican Republic.
He received a $25,000 signing bonus.
Hand problems and shoulder strain caused Dominguez to miss time early in his career.
Dominguez made his debut for Philadelphia in 2018 at the age of 23. He always worked in relief.
According to Fangraphs.com, Dominguez throws his fastball 97-98 miles per hour. He is primarily a fastball/slider pitcher as a closer. He mixes in the changeup to keep the hitter off balance.
Last year, Dominguez worked 54 games in relief for the Phillies. He finished with nine saves in 51 innings. He struck out an average of 10.8 batters per nine innings while walking 3.9 per nine innings.
Dominguez could be the first reliever and throw in the 9th inning. However, he will get plenty of competition from the other three closers on the roster.
Jose Alvarado-LHP-27 years old
Jose Alvarado signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as an international free agent from Venezuela in 2012.
Alvarado made his major league debut with the Rays at age 22 in 2017. He pitched 29.2 innings, all in relief.
The Rays traded Alvarado to the Phillies in December 2020 in a three-team deal that included the Phillies, Dodgers, and Rays.
Alvarado’s fastball is 98.5 miles per hour. He also uses evil shift and slider.
Alvarado had two saves last season for Philadelphia. He threw 51 innings in 59 games, all in relief. Alvarado is striking out an average of 14.3 batters per nine innings while walking an average of 4.2 batters per nine innings.
Craig Kimbrel-RHP-Age 34
Craig Kimbrel is the most experienced veteran of the group.
Kimbrel was a 2008 3rd round pick of the Atlanta Braves out of Wallace State Community College in Alabama.
Kimbrel has pitched for six teams, including the Braves, Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres and White Sox. When he takes the mound for the Phillies, he will begin his 14th season as a major league pitcher.
In his 709 games, Kimbrel has never started. He was always used in relief, and he accumulated 394 saves.
An eight-time All-Star, Kimbrel was the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year with Atlanta.
Brooksbaseball.com lists Kimbrel as a fastball/curveball combo. His fastball is 70.69 miles per hour and his curveball, which he uses 29% of the time, is 30 miles per hour.
Kimbrel pitched 60 innings last year with the Dodgers. He saved 22 games.
Kimbrel has averaged 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings while walking 4.2 batters per nine innings.
Gregory Soto-LAP-28 years old as of February 11th
The most recent addition to the Phillies bullpen, Gregory Soto, may become the most used.
The Detroit Tigers signed Soto as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.
Soto made his major league debut with the Tigers in 2019 at the age of 24.
Soto made the American League All-Star teams in both 2021 and 2022.
Soto throws a four-seam fastball at 99 mph, a two-seam sinking fastball at 98 mph, a slider and a very occasional changeup. According to Brooksbaseball.com, Soto uses his sinker 40% of the time, his four-seam fastball 29% and his slider 30% of the time.
With those three very solid pitches in his game, it’s very difficult for a hitter to “guess” what to expect.
Soto appeared in 64 games for the Tigers last year, all in relief. He had 30 saves. He struck out an average of nine batters per nine innings, walking 5.1 batters per nine.
The Phillies sent infielder Nick Mayton, outfielder Matt Vierling, catcher Donnie Sands and utility player Cody Clemens to Soto in a trade announced on January 7, 2023.
The Philadelphia Phillies, under the guidance of seasoned veteran front office executive David Dombrowski, have built a well-balanced club that could once again reach the World Series.
While every team wants quality pitching late in the game, the Phillies can send any of four pitchers with major league experience to close baseball games.
With the additions of All Star Trea Turner and starter Taijuan Walker, relievers Cerantoni Dominguez, Jose Alvarado, Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto could provide the Phillies with some of the strongest closers in baseball.