Remember the dark days of late 2020? Dave Dombrowski has turned them all into a long and distant memory.
The Phillies felt countries away in terms of distance from resigning JT Realmuto. Matt Klentak still held power in the Phillies’ front office. The bullpen remained a nauseating reminder of what happened during the 2020 season. Personally, I still get sick to my stomach every time I think about those relievers if you can call them that.
Thanks Brandon Workman, who naturally has a 0 ERA to start 2021.
Then in the second week of December, hope arrived. Future Hall of Fame executive, Dave Dombrowski, became the President of Phillies’ Baseball Operations. The outlook on the Phillies’ offseason began to shift. Dombrowski brought World Series trophies to the Marlins and Red Sox and took the Tigers to 2 October Classics.
With a newfound optimism, it was no surprise that he resigned Didi Gregorius and JT Realmuto. What is slowly becoming a shock is how he rebuilt the disastrous 2020 bullpen.
The Phillies bullpen so far in 2021 has allowed 1 earned run in 13 innings pitched. That’s good for a 0.69 ERA.
The Moves made by Dave Dombrowski
The first of Dombrowski’s bullpen deals could already be put down as a steal. In a 3-team deal, the Phillies essentially only gave up Garrett Cleavinger for Jose Alvarado. This man throws a 99 MPH sinker. Need I say more? He dominated Spring Training and currently has a 3 ERA with a 21 K/9 ratio.
Next up came Sam Coonrod from the San Francisco Giants. Coonrod wasn’t good last year. Although he had an electric fastball, it was getting hammered for a 9.82 ERA. In his first appearance of the year, he went 2 innings, striking out 3 and allowing a single hit. With a sinker in the high-90’s, that’ll play.
The Phillies got this man for just $6 million and he’s already paying dividends. He’s allowed just a single walk in his first 2 appearances of the season. Phillies fans should be elated to see his big beautiful beard bounce out of the bullpen.
Brandon Kintzler turned down a guaranteed contract with the Marlins to take a chance with the Phillies. He fought in Spring Training and made his Phillies debut against the New York Mets. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and induced a pivotal double play in the 4th inning with the bases juiced.
Even 2 of the Phillies’ holdouts from 2020 are playing well to start the year. Connor “The Kid” Brogdon currently leads the entirety of the Major Leagues with 2 wins. He’s allowed just 1 hit in 2 IP so far.
Hector “The Protector” Neris has returned in 2021. He’s marched into this season allowing only 2 walks in 3 IP with 5 strikeouts. The closer to begin the season, the master of the splitter could be back on his nail-bitingly-good ways.
The Phillies are 4-0 thanks to the bullpen. God bless Dave Dombrowski.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswir