Comparing Phillies 2009 bullpen to the current bunch
Updated: January 4, 2010

By Zaki,

Danys Baez is set to take a physical and finalize his two-year deal with the Phillies this week, which may be the last significant move the Phils make this offseason, according to Todd Zolecki. Apparently, Ruben Amaro may still sign a couple muppets and your uncle Jimbo, but the days of signing “significant” talent like Danys Baez and his 4.04 career ERA may over with. In other words, get ready for another ride on The Bullpen. Scares the bageezus outta me.

I thought I’d compare this year’s bullpen to last year to see if we’ve gained any ground at all so far, so here goes nothin’:

Closer: No change. Brad Lidge posted a 7.21 ERA and netted 20 saves (31 saves minus the 11 he blew) as the closer for the eventual National League champs. Let’s put it this way: I don’t think it’s possible to repeat the worst closer performance in the history of closers, so I’ll say we improved slightly no matter what happens. Charlie can’t throw him out there the way he did last year if the struggles continue, right? Anybody wanna back me up on that and make me feel better?

Setup: Ryan Madson stays. Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey combined for a 2.38 ERA over 72 innings for the Phils last year and as of right now, neither will not be back for 2010. J.C. Romero returns and it looks like Baez will join him and Madson as the go-to guys in the latter innings. Romero and Baez combined for a 3.77 ERA last season in 88.1 innings, with only 16.2 of those coming from Romero. J.C.’s coming off of an injury and a long layoff, so I wouldn’t expect him to be the shut-down reliever we’re used to. Baez is coming from the AL East, so it’s possible he could look better in a Phils uniform than what he did last year with the Orioles.

Overall, I’d say 2.38 is lower than 3.77, so it looks like we had a better crew setting things up for impending disaster (Lidge) in 2009 than we currently do.

The Rest: Chad Durbin stays. Chan Ho Park, Tyler Walker and Jack Taschner combined for a 3.30 ERA over 114.2 innings and if it wasn’t for “Take out the” Taschner, that ERA would be a lot lower. As of right now, that group is gone, and likely replaced with some combination of Antonio Bastardo (6.46 ERA in 6 games), Drew Carpenter (11.12 ERA in 3 games), Sergio Escalona (4.61 ERA in 14 games) and Mike Zagurski, who posted a 3.57 ERA in 45 games at Double-A Clearwater last year.

I’d say this year’s bunch might make us beg for the ’08 and ’09 versions that we took for granted.

Overall, this year’s bullpen is essentially the opposite of what you’d want from a team that is supposed to contend for a World Series championship: A closer coming off a miserable season and very little depth with inexperienced middle relievers.

One good sign is that last year’s horrible bullpen turned it around about when Cliff Lee came on board and consistently pitched deep into games, saving the pen. Halladay should do that even better than Lee, and this time, for a full season.

Zaki is the Chief Rocka and senior writer for

2 Responses to “Comparing Phillies 2009 bullpen to the current bunch”

  1. Nick on January 5th, 2010 6:00 pm

    At least one of those no-name-bastardo-loving-losers will turn out to be the shutdown reliever like the 08 Romero and the 09 Chan Ho. Although it is our weakest spot, I wouldn’t worry too much about the bullpen, at least in the reg season.

    Our lineup improved slightly and our bench improved a lot so it seems like another 90-94 win season is reasonable.

    I expect Lidge’s ERA to at least be back into the 3s, if not the 2s. Apparently I’m the only one…

  2. Zaki on January 5th, 2010 11:54 pm

    Last I checked, no team has ever won the WS in the modern era without a solid bullpen. Maybe back when every pitcher finished his meal like Roy Halladay will do for us, but we’re gonna need a bullpen to finish things off, so it should be a concern for everyone following the Phils.

    After the Lee trade, the Phils won something like 66% of their games, which would put them at 107 wins for the year. I’d say something in between that and the 93 they won last year is probable. If Cole and Lidge come back, I think anything short of 98 would be a disappointment. This team is pretty stacked if everyone plays to their potential.

    As for your Lidge comments, I’m 1,000% positive we’re talking about different people. The Lidge I’m talking about had a 7.21 ERA last season and couldn’t get the easiest of outs. I’ve seen many a pitcher battle through injuries, and you don’t see many dominant guys like Lidge hit the 7.00 ERA barrier. Once you’re up there, it’s damn near impossible to come all the way back down to the 2.00s.

    I’m optimistic as always, but I’m not expecting it by any means.

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