We here at The Good Phight strive to make sure each player gets his fair share of coverage. This series where we review each player that made an appearance for the team is so that we can look back on the season fondly, to find the highs and the lows, the reasons to watch and the reasons to engage in other activities. Sometimes, though, there are players that remind you of the days prior to Dave Dombrowski, when the team was more concerned with “optionality” than with actual talent.
2023 stats: 1 G, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 36.00 ERA (7.26 FIP), 0.0 fWAR
The Phillies didn’t need him again.
The Phillies needed him in the first place.
Erich Uelmen will likely never throw another pitch in a Phillies uniform. He’s already been outrighted off of the roster and will toil in Lehigh Valley in the hopes he gets another shot with the team.
Still, his inclusion is a reminder of what the team has been building during the Dombrowski years as opposed to the Klentak/MacPhail regime.
The focus of bullpen depth building with Dombrowski and Sam Fuld has been in charge has been trying to find an actionable skill a pitcher might have, combine it with minor league options that that player might possess and use that to make sure that if an injury or ineffectiveness occurs, the team isn’t caught with its pants down. There’s a certain preparedness that surrounds the team when it comes to their dabbling in the waiver wire and minor league free agent market.
During the Klentak/MacPhail years, their way of building bullpen depth was akin to a child being blindfolded at a birthday party, spun several times and asked to pin the tail on the donkey. The way they strived to add certain players, scraping the literal bottom of the barrel in order to fill innings, showed no actual plan to building anything. They just hoped to hit the dartboard at all instead of maybe lucking into triple 20.
Uelmen isn’t going to be anything the team can pin on their resume, but at least he can continue the plan that has been put into place.