Recasting the worst bullpen in baseball requires more than a few tweaks. But the Phillies began the process Monday with a waiver claim.
In scooping up Ian Hamilton from the Seattle Mariners, the Phillies added a 25-year-old right-hander and former prospect who fell upon hard luck over the last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox.
Hamilton posted a 4.50 ERA in four appearances for the White Sox this year before being designated for assignment Sept. 18, catching on with the Mariners, and finishing the season at their alternate site.
With a mid-90s fastball that occasionally touched 99 m.p.h., Hamilton was once considered a future piece of the White Sox’s bullpen. But he injured his shoulder in a car accident before the 2019 season started. He went to triple-A and got hit in the face by a line drive, requiring multiple surgeries to repair a broken jaw.
The Phillies were torpedoed this year by a bullpen that posted a 7.06 ERA, was charged with 14 of 32 losses, and blew more games (14) than it saved (11). Hector Neris and David Hale are the only veteran holdovers in a group that includes otherwise inexperienced options for manager Joe Girardi.
Relievers are available in abundance in free agency, so much so that the Phillies may find a few bargains. The Los Angeles Angels traded for a potential closer Monday, acquiring Raisel Iglesias from the Cincinnati Reds for reliever Noe Ramirez.
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