UPDATE: The Phillie have announced the hiring of former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo to fill a yet-to-be determined coaching position. Perlozzo will likely either coach third base or serve as Charlie Manuel's bench coach. He will definitely handle infield instruction. Perlozzo spent last season as the third base coach with the Mariners.
Now, onto the good stuff. . .
Throughout the day today and into tomorrow, we'll be taking a position-by-position look at the free agent field. Next up will be outielders, followed by starting pitchers, followed by infielders. Right now, though, we'll look at the Phillies' bullpen.
It will be interesting to monitor the Phillies' decision-making process this offseason. At present, they have six relievers under control for next season (not including lefty J.A. Happ, whom the team views as a starter): Closer Brad Lidge (RHP), apparent set-up man Ryan Madson (RHP), long reliever Chad Durbin (RHP), LHP Scott Eyre, LHP J.C. Romero, and RHP Clay Condrey. The Phillies would love to be able to add another reliable reliever, particularly one who is capable of throwing multiple innings.
Detailed below are some of the more intriguing names who figure to be available. But as the Phillies proved last offseason with the signing of Durbin, they could wind up with someone off of the radar.
Jeremy Affeldt, Reds: A 29-year-old lefty with seven years of experience, he is coming off back-to-back solid seasons for the Rockies (4-3, 3.51 ERA, 75 appearances in 2007) and the Reds (1-1, 3.33 ERA, 74 appearances in 2008). A lefthander who can pitch multiple innings, had good post All-Star break numbers (2.51 ERA, 32 strikeouts, eight walks, 32 1/3 IP, .248 BAA).
Juan Cruz, Diamondbacks: A 29-year-old righthander, he went 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA for Arizona in 57 appearances this season. Another guy who can go multiple innings. He is a Type A free agent.
Doug Brocail, Astros: He put up decent numbers last season - 3.93 ERA, 1.223 WHIP - in a hitters' park. A righthander, he'll be 42 next May.
Joe Beimel, Dodgers: More of a lefty specialist than a multiple-innings guy, he has put together three straight solid years for the Dodgers. This season, he had a 2.02 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 21 walks in 71 appearances (49 innings). He is 31 years old.
Bobby Howry, Cubs: After four straight solid sasons with the Indians and Cubs, Howry struggled in 2008, posting a 5.35 ERA while allowing 1.458 walks/hits per inning pitched.
Mike Lincoln, Reds: An interesting guy. He made the squad after a four-year layoff that featured two reconstructive elbow surgeries. A right-hander who can pitch multiple innings, he was a big piece of the Reds bullpen. But he struggled in the second half of th eseason, posting a 5.47 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 12 walks in 30 appearances after the All-Star Break.
Will Ohman, Braves: A 31-year-old lefty specialist, he went 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA, but is not a multiple innings guy.
Dennys Reyes, Twins: A lefty specialist, albeit one coming off a season in which he posted a 2.33 ERA with a 1.187 WHIP in 75 appearances, he probably doesn't fit the Phillies' needs.
Brian Shouse, Brewers: Another lefty, the soon-to-be 40-year-old went 5-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.169 WHIP in 69 appearances last season.
Other Names: RHP David Weathers (Reds), RHP Doug Brocail (Astros), LHP Alan Embree (A's), RHP Kyle Farnsworth (Tigers), RHP Keith Foulke (A'S), RHP Russ Springer, LHP Luis Ayala, (Mets), LHP Arthur Rhodes (Marlins)