If you looked out at the Phillies bullpen this year, you probably saw multiple men sitting out there in Phillies uniforms. Who were they? What were they doing there? Why weren't they allowed to leave? Some of those men can be found below, their seasons having suffered such tragedies that they failed to earn their own, individual posts.
Look at this video of Hector Neris hitting Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch. The best part is the contrasting managers' reactions; Kirk Gibson, eager to hop on that railing and pose like a guy at the end of the bar watching you make time with his girl; and then, Pete Mackanin, a frazzled substitute teacher who just walked out of the supply closet after taking a bong rip and discovered that whoops, this wasn't his free period after all because there's 30 children looking back at him.
It was a fun little moment that didn't really progress beyond what you see here. Neris wasn't a troublemaker, or a fireballer, or day-ruiner. He came trotting into games in the sixth or seventh, often because Aaron Harang or Jerome Williams were gassed after spending the evening awarding the Marlins base hits. This is likely why Neris was always forced to at least try and escape jam after jam after jam.
He ended the season with a 3.79 ERA, which were part of the result of giving up about one home run every five innings. Sometime, he gave up multiple home runs in one inning. Like all Phillies relievers, he at many times was shoved in there for mop-up duty, and, well. Mop-up duty gets messy.
Hector Neris had an 18.00 ERA against the #Mets in Philly last week.— Rich MacLeod (@richmacleod) September 2, 2015
Hey, you have got to be good to be a part of the biggest Phillies trade of this generation. To the Rangers, Diekman, along with Cole Hamels, was worth giving up five real baseball players and one Matt Harrison.
The Phillies gave him 36.2 innings before the trade, and he, like Justin De Fratus, was overworked by Ryne Sandberg, left in games to face hitters that one glance at ancillary statistics would tell you he shouldn't be facing. But Sandberg liked what he saw in Diekman, or he wasn't paying attention, or he became so nervous that everyone would realize he had no idea what he was doing that he froze in place and just stood there, staring at the Gatorade cooler.
In either case, Diekman, who had been named one of the most promising bullpen arms of the upcoming Phillies, was demoted by the team in June. "Get mad," his buddy De Fratus told him. He had started the year posting a 9.31 ERA in March and April, and continued to slog through May, probably mad already. By the time of the trade in July, Diekman had walked 24 batters, just 11 shy of his season total in 2014. But he had turned things around, striking out 13 in 13 innings, along with trimming his walks down to one for the month. The change suited him just fine, as he continued to fireball as an effective Rangers reliever despite getting smashed in the back with a line drive.
Unlike the Phillies, Diekman actually went to the playoffs with Texas, so all in all, things went a little better for him. In fact, he apparently doesn't have to come back to the Phillies next season, either. Good on you, Jake.
Franzke - "Yes folks, Elvis has left the bullpen"— Franzke & LA (@FranzkeLA) June 24, 2015
And then, two months later:
Indeed, Araujo's effective season was ended by a groin injury in August 28, when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list and sadly had to miss the Phillies' pathetic attempt at September baseball.
Araujo quite accurately was embodying the entire bullpen by that point, with few starters left capable of going deep into games, Pete Mackanin said his relief corps was "Very worn out," following Araujo's exit. The next week, the 24-year-old lefty was shifted onto the 60-day DL, ending his rookie season. It would be a 3.83 ERA on the season for him through 34.2 innings, finishing with 8.83 SO/9 and an exhausted groin.
It is likely that Araujo could wind up back in the 2016 bullpen, god rest his groin, and while the starters may be a bit more hopeful and a bit more youthful than Harang/Williams - Jake Thompson jumping to the big leagues is already a rumor in play - Araujo may have no shortage of work.