Who Will Return to the Phillies Bullpen in 2021?

All the Phillies had to do to make the 2020 Postseason was to win 1 of their final 3 games. They were unable to do so. Now, where does the team go from here? General Manager Matt Klentak has already stepped down from his position, and a new GM will be tasked with bringing in quality arms to improve the relief core, amongst a slew of other jobs.

There are several holes in the bullpen, and the organization is currently lacking the depth needed to fill them. With that being said, there are a few names from last season that should still be in the fold for next year, and a few that may be better off parting ways with. Let’s dive in:

Jose Alvarez:
Acquired before the 2019 season, Alvarez proved to be a steady addition to the bullpen during his 2 years with the team. Set to enter free agency this winter, the lefty is someone I would strongly consider resigning.

Connor Brogdon:
Brogdon made his Phillies debut this summer, appearing in just 9 games and striking out 17 batters. It was a small sample size for the 2017 10th round selection, but he pitched well enough to at least be considered for a spot next season.

David Hale:
Hale was acquired in a mid-season trade from the Yankees and proved to be a solid addition to Joe Girardi’s pitching staff. He pitched in a variety of roles, from opener to bulk guy. There is a chance he could return in a long relief role, or as a depth piece.

Heath Hembree:
Hembree, who was acquired in a mid-season trade with Boston, struggled mightily during his time in Philadelphia. The veteran, who is entering his last year of arbitration, will most likely pitch elsewhere in 2021.

Tommy Hunter:
Despite a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, and coming to camp as a late arrival, Hunter proved to be one of the team’s most reliable bullpen arms this past season. Set to enter free agency this winter, Hunter is someone the Phillies should at least entertain the idea of resigning.

Adam Morgan:
Although Morgan had a rough year for his standards, the southpaw is still under team control via arbitration for one more season. He debuted with the team way back in 2015 and has become somewhat of a mainstay in the bullpen ever since. At this point I would say there is a 50/50 chance of him returning, but my gut feeling is that he will be back.

Héctor Neris:
Neris entered the season in his familiar role as the team’s closing pitcher. However, early-season struggles and the acquisition of Brandon Workman forced him out of that spot. His performance did not proceed to get much better following the move. Regardless, he will return to the Phillies bullpen in some capacity next year.

Phillies: Hector Neris could soon return from COVID-19 IL

Blake Parker:
The Phillies signed the Arkansas native to a minor league deal in Spring Training and it worked out beautifully. Parker, now 35 years old, is getting up there in age, but as long as he continues to keep pitching I would not mind bringing him back on board for next year.

David Phelps:
Phelps was essentially 2 different pitchers this year. In Milwaukee, he was fantastic and pitched well enough to be traded for 3 prospects. Following the trade to Philly, he was disastrous and had an ERA north of 6. According to, Phelps has a $4.5 million team option. I would be surprised if it were picked up.

David Robertson:
After signing a 2 year deal with the Phillies before the 2019 campaign, Robertson spent the majority of his time with the organization on the Injured List. He did not throw a pitch in the majors this season, and he has not appeared in a big-league game in 18 months. His forgettable stint with the Phillies has likely come to an end.

JoJo Romero:
Despite a rough finish to the year, Romero opened some eyes out of the pen’ in his first big league season. The young lefty was a dependable arm for the majority of the 2020 campaign, and at the very least put himself in the conversation to be apart of the team’s relief core moving forward.

Philadelphia Phillies: JoJo Romero's importance keeps on rising

Ramon Rosso:
A starter for the bulk of his minor league career, Rosso was called upon to help provide some length in the Phillies bullpen. He struggled in his rookie season, but at just 24 years of age, there is a good chance we will see him again in the future.

Ranger Suarez:
The Phillies were hoping Suarez could make an impact after a strong 2019 campaign. However, injuries and a Covid 19 case derailed the southpaw’s season, which was ultimately limited to just 3 appearances. If there is one thing that works in his favor concerning his roster status with the team moving forward, Suarez has experience as both a starter and a reliever.

Brandon Workman:
Workman was acquired in August and inserted into the closers role, a position he would soon relinquish due to poor performance. In 14 games with the Phillies, he allowed 10 earned runs and surrounded 4 long balls. Entering free agency this winter, I doubt the righthander will be returning to Philadelphia.

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