Matt Klentak spent the winter making high-profile additions to the Phillies’ roster.
It does not sound as if he’s planning another one any time soon — specifically in the bullpen. Despite its role in a couple of difficult, late losses to the Washington Nationals in the first two weeks of the season, Klentak remains confident in the unit.
“I feel really good about the construction of our bullpen,” the Phillies general manager said before Wednesday night’s series finale against Washington.
“And I’m not blind. I know some of our key guys have had some tough outings so far in the first 10 days. I’ve watched it. I know it. But I like the depth that we have. I’m encouraged by Seranthony Dominguez’ and David Robertson’s last two outings. Pat Neshek and Adam Morgan look like the best versions of themselves this year.
“I trust in the track record of our group. In the best of times, they’re not going to be perfect every night and certainly when you’re facing lineups like the Nationals have. There are good hitters over there. Sometimes they’re going to get our guys, and sometimes our guys will get them.”
On Tuesday night, manager Gabe Kapler rested three key relievers because they’d so far carried a significant load and he’s committed to keeping them healthy all season. Pressed into late, high-leverage duty, Edubray Ramos allowed a two-out homer to Victor Robles in failing to protect a one-run lead in the ninth and Jose Alvarez gave up a three-run homer in the 10th.
In the wake of that 10-6 loss, a clamor arose for the Phillies to sign free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel.
The Phillies have monitored the market for Kimbrel for months, but, at the moment, do not appear ready to strike.
Klentak would not talk specifically about Kimbrel nor would he say if he has had recent conversations with David Meter, the pitcher’s agent.
Klentak said he would not take a “football fan mentality” and over-scrutinize one bad game, especially with the way things have gone so far this season.
“We’re 7-3 with the best winning percentage in the National league and we’ve not been clicking on all cylinders,” he said. “So the optimistic view of that is, there may still be better days ahead and that’s saying something when you’re 7-3.”
He went on to praise the fans who have backed the Phillies out of the gate.
“Our fans have been incredible,” he said. “It’s really cool to come to the ballpark and play in front of these crowds in that environment. We’ve had a lot of our stars doing star-level things. It’s been very entertaining.”
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