Having already agreed to deals with superstar shortstop Trea Turner and right-handed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, the Phillies were finalizing a contract with left-handed reliever Matt Strahm as the Winter Meetings came to a close, NBC Sports Philadelphia confirmed.
Strahm's deal, first reported by The Athletic, is worth $15 million over two years.
Strahm is 31, a lanky 6-2 lefty who has been very good in four of seven big-league seasons with the Royals, Padres and Red Sox. He was in Boston in 2022 and appeared in 50 games, striking out 52 in 44⅔ innings with a 3.83 ERA that wasn't indicative of how well he'd pitched through late September as six of the 19 earned runs he allowed came in his final five appearances.
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He goes four-seamer, two-seamer, slider, curveball to lefties and drops the sinker for a changeup against righties. His opponents hit .135 last season in at-bats ending in the four-seamer or curveball.
Strahm gives the Phillies another quality late-inning relief option. High-leverage lefties are important and this one provides Rob Thomson more flexibility to deploy Jose Alvarado in other spots since Alvarado's nastiness isn't reserved for one side of the plate. Strahm's platoon splits are pretty much even. Lefties hit .229 with a .688 OPS off of him in 2022, righties hit .221 with a .654 OPS. Righties did hit his changeup, going 11 for 20.
This is the first of several bullpen moves that Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies are expected to make. They had holes to fill in a bullpen that lost David Robertson, Zach Eflin, Brad Hand and Corey Knebel to free agency. The back end currently consists of Seranthony Dominguez, Alvarado, Connor Brogdon and now Strahm. Brogdon had a great postseason and has the pitch arsenal to succeed but you probably want at least one more setup man ahead of him. Andrew Bellatti is also back after striking out 78 in 54 innings with a 3.31 ERA, and Sam Coonrod was re-signed to a one-year deal on November 18.
It was a successful week in San Diego for Dombrowski, the front office and ownership. The biggest hole was in the starting rotation and that was plugged with the four-year, $72 million deal for Walker. The Phillies loved Turner and the interest was mutual to the tune of $300 million over 11 years. The addition of Strahm makes it a $387 million week.
The Phillies are getting after it, blowing past the luxury tax for a second straight year to fine-tune a team that was two wins away from a parade in 2022.