The Phillies are reportedly expressing interest in reliever Dellin Betances and catcher Austin Romine, per George A. King III of the New York Post.
Along with their reported interest in free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius, that makes three former Yankees the Phillies have been connected to since their hire of Joe Girardi as their next manager. All three ex-Yankees played multiple seasons under Girardi’s tutelage.
Betances certainly makes sense for a Phillies’ bullpen that was middle of the pack by ERA and a bottom-10 unit by measure of FIP. MLBTR’s Steve Adams provided a more succinct review in his Offseason Outlook by noting: They were “not a strength in 2019.” The group dealt with its share of injuries, of course, but that’s cold comfort for a team keen on competing in a difficult NL East. The bullpen currently has a number of high-ceiling arms, but few established roles after injuries derailed the seasons of David Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez and Tommy Hunter. Nominal closer Hector Neris arguably put together a decent 28-save campaign, but he was not without his hiccups either. Not for nothing, with Girardi taking over, usage patterns could shift entirely for this unit. Betances’ career 2.36 ERA and 14.6 K/9 would be a good addition on paper, but after missing essentially all of the 2019 season, Betances’ shutdown back-end talent comes packaged with further uncertainty.
Romine is the less likely of the two to end up in Philly, as the backup catcher is coming off a career-best .281/.310/.439 campaign and there’s no shortage of catching opportunities elsewhere. The backup spot in Philly doesn’t have as much playing time to offer as most — J.T. Realmuto is one of the few front-line catchers who demands a heavy majority of playing time. Philadelphia can probably get by with any number of veteran backups. They also have Deivy Grullon, 24 this season, waiting in the wings after a strong .283/.354/.496 seasons in Triple-A. Presumably, Romine would look for a position with a more obvious path to playing time.
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