He was actually pretty good in 2021. He was not that good in 2022. He was also hurt for much of 2022. Why bring him back?
2022 stats: 12 G, 12 1⁄3 IP, 12 H, 12 R (11 ER), 20.7 K%, 1.7 BB%, 7.82 ERA (4.61 FIP), -0.3 bWAR
Eh, I guess it’s good he came back?
Having a torn rotator cuff for a pitcher means you likely are going to miss a huge chunk of time rehabbing or a huger chunk of time with surgery. Sometimes, it’s a death knell for pitchers, never to return to a mound. A solid trade find for the team in 2021, Coonrod was semi-counted on to be solid contributor in the ‘pen this season, but it was lost due to his injury.
Like, I said, he was able to come back.
Thing is - he wasn’t all that good.
Well, let’s rephrase that.
He started off fine, his first five outings being somewhat promising that he might be recovered. Those situations weren’t exactly stressful (average leverage index for those games: 0.13), but at least he was on the mound.
Then things went south. He got shellacked against the Giants ( 2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 R), had a few more decent outings, then ended the season giving up seven runs in three innings in his final three appearances. There wasn’t anything going on velocity wise,
It could be that he just wasn’t strong enough to last the whole season, strange as it may be. The thought was that maybe the team didn’t want to spend much money on him, preferring to nontender him and keep the roster spot, but that wasn’t in the cards either.
Instead, the team ended up not only giving him a contract, but settling on a number and giving him that 40-man spot.
On the one hand, it makes sense. Whatever it was that Coonrod signed for couldn’t have been much considering the season he had and his showing in 2021 would have warranted his getting another shot with at least a minor league deal. It’s possible the team knew that his services would have been in demand somewhere on a guaranteed deal, so they snatched him up before another team could get that chance.
On the other hand, it feels like Caleb Cotham is getting pretty good at getting middling relievers to suddenly become effective once in his hands and the roster spot was more valuable than the player. One of the Phillies’ strong points last season was their willingness to churn through the bottom of that 40-man roster with nary a thought of what it meant to the bottom line, looking instead for who could help them win games. But that was after they crossed the first luxury tax threshold. John Middleton was more than willing to cross that number, but is he as willing to cross the second number? We’ve talked about how they do have plenty of money to be able to add at the very least a significant offensive piece, but what about the other parts that need help, the rotation and the bullpen? If they blow past that first threshold, will they want to come near that second one? It’s not that whatever Coonrod got will significantly affect that, but they might want to save as much money as they can.
Overall grade: D-
If we’re going off of purely 2022, Coonrod just wasn’t that good. It’s likely that he improves at least his surface numbers in 2023, but with shoulders, you just never know.