Ho-hum, another appearance from a withering Phillies relief pitcher. Today's Harang or Buchanan or whoever has long since exited the game, having perhaps looked solid very early, like needing only 10 or 11 pitches to escape the first inning but then coming back out to the mound in the second and walking in a run. Then, somewhere in the line of pitchers trudging in from the bullpen is a guy like Jeanmar Gomez, who would pitch an inning or two, trying to keep the deficit from exploLOOK OUT, JEANMAR!
Yes, as with any pitcher on a last place team, Gomez did a lot of sitting and a lot of pitching after people had turned their TVs off this season. But once in a while he would, as many have who play his position, almost be killed.
Great reflexes, Jeanmar.
The 27-year-old right-hander signed a minor league deal in January of this year with the Phillies, a process we've seen repeated by the Phillies snaring the likes of Dan Otero and James Russell to fill possibly the same role Gomez filled in 2015. The Phillies gave him 74.2 innings of work in 65 games, 21 of which he finished. In return, he gave them a 3.01 ERA, 6.0 SO/9, and 1.3 WAR - an encouraging number for this staff, given that it was not in the negatives. Gomez also saw a career low in walks in seasons through which he has pitched at least 60 innings, allowing merely 17 free passes, as well as his least ever home runs, four.
He definitely logged one of the more complete seasons of any of the Phillies, appearing in a completely unfair number of games in every month of the season. There were no real time-consuming injuries to speak of, thanks in part to his superhero-esque instincts that prevented a baseball from becoming a permanent part of his head.
With so much exposure, even a guy with a career 4.16 ERA over six big league seasons can add a few highlights to his reel. Take that, Hanley Ramirez! Shut up, Michael Conforto! Go to hell, bottom of the Cubs batting order! Gomez is the recipient of some key advice in 2013 that saw him make a career-saving adjustment, and the Phillies realized that paying $800,000 for a man who can effectively evolve several years into his career to log some of his best numbers is a deal well worth it.
Gomez didn't find himself trimmed from the roster when the Phillies drew their blinds and made some hard cuts not too long ago. He will likely be back in that bullpen come spring, flashes of Sean Rodriguez's line drive flickering in his mind's eye. As the relief corps fills with youngsters around James Russells and Dan Oteros, the Phillies could do worse than have their pitching prospects exposed to relievers like Gomez, who will very likely not attempt to choke any of them.