After the signing of Craig Kimbrel to a one-year, $10 million free agent contract, most of us assumed Dave Dombrowski was done making major additions to the 2023 Phillies.
It appeared the bullpen was set, a stable bench was in place, and the everyday nine was taken care of.
But Dombrowski wasn’t done. His trade for Tigers closer Gregory Soto over the weekend surprised everyone, adding one more late-inning option to a group that included Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarado and Kimbrel.
It was unexpected. And welcome.
To do it, he gave up two depth pieces in Matt Vierling and Nick Maton. Two members of the Phillies Day Care are gone, but in return, Dombrowski got a two-time All Star with outstanding, if unrefined, stuff. On Monday, he added another big-time arm in Yunior Marte, a right-handed reliever capable of throwing 100+ mph.
Giants reliever Yunior Marte leads the PCL in Pitching+ minimum 200 pitches. Third in Stuff+, just behind Matt Brash. SF should probably call him up. PCL leaderboard updated on the google doc.— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) June 23, 2022
The Phillies sent left-handed relief prospect Erik Miller to San Francisco in the deal, a player with a prospect ranking anywhere in the 10-15 range in their system. Miller was someone who had a chance to potentially win a bullpen job out of spring training, but now he’ll attempt to do so on the west coast.
Dombrowski’s mission is clear: find players with high-end skills and acquire them in exchange for depth pieces.
It’s hard to find triple-digit throwers, even in this day and age. It’s not all that difficult to find 4th outfielders, utility infielders, or left-handed relief prospects in the 10-15 range in your system. The comforting thing about Dombrowski is that it seems, for the first time in a very long time, the entire organization is on the same page.
The analytics department appears to be zeroing in on certain things the team likes. The coaching staff is finding players who do certain things well and bringing the best out of them, specifically with pitchers like Alvarado and Andrew Bellatti. And entering his third year as team president, Dombrowski knows what he has in the farm system, the surpluses and the shortfalls, and can make informed decisions based on that.
It’s encouraging to see the Phillies have a plan, that it makes sense, and that they’re executing it. It doesn’t sound hard, but anyone who’s followed this team for any length of time knows it hasn’t been easy to get here.
On the latest edition of Hittin’ Season, Justin Klugh, Liz Roscher and I talked at length about the new bullpen additions, the latest in the Carlos Correa saga (the Twins???!!!) and the potential return of former Braves GM John Copollela returning to baseball.