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Michael Rucker in, Andrew Bellatti out

A little bit of churn for the Phillies’ bullpen

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Michael Rucker appeared in 35 games for the 2023 Cubs.
Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images

If you wanted the Phillies to do something, I have good news: They did something, acquiring right-handed reliever Michael Rucker from the Chicago Cubs.

If you wanted them to do something exciting...you’ll have to keep waiting.

Rucker - about to enter his age 30 season - appeared in 35 games for the Cubs in 2023, going 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA, and was worth 0.1 wins above replacement. He was better the year before when he had a 3.95 ERA in 41 games.

It might not be a huge needle-mover for the Phillies, but it does make sense. He’s replacing Andrew Bellatti who similarly followed up a cromulent 2022 season with a down 2023. Bellatti spent most of the season in the minor leagues and was now out of options. Rucker is younger and still has an option left, meaning he can be used as part of the bullpen churn that teams usually require to get through the season.

Rucker will have a chance to win a spot on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster in camp. Even if he falls short of that goal, it seems likely that due to the inevitable ineffectiveness or injury by other relievers, we’ll be seeing him in the majors at some point this season.