Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports – Call to the Pen
Update – 9:08 AM
The deal is done.
Dipoto is giving up some low ceiling prospects to help the team improve its bullpen depth. This is a solid move.
With the Seattle Mariners back to .500 after starting out the second half of the season 5-1, Seattle Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto closing in on a deal for Miami relief pitcher David Phelps.
The rumored trade was first reported by MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand
The 30-year old reliever has pitched in 47 innings this season, while posting a stat line of 3.45/3.69/3.74 (ERA, FIP, xFIP). Phelps is holding opponents to a batting average of .239 against him, despite the fact that he’s a little snake bit by bad luck this season — opposing hitters have a BABIP of .308. So far in 2017, he’s been a pretty solid option coming out of the pen for Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly.
Looking through Phelps’ stats, the only area of concern that catches my eye is the fact that he has seen a jump in his home run to fly ball ratio; currently, 13.2% of fly balls hit against him turn into dingers, 2.7 points higher than his career average. But that increase isn’t terribly surprising considering the increase in home runs hit this season.
As for the pitches used, Phelps overwhelmingly relies on his fastball when called into the game — so far in 2017, he’s used it 53.1% of the time. The reliever also has a cutter (27.8%), a slider (18.7%), and a rarely used change-up (0.4%). While Phelps’ does rely on his fastball, he isn’t going to wow you with its velocity (he’s averaging 95 MPH); what he’s really good at is locating his pitches as to induce week contact.
For example, let’s take a look at the heatmap for where Phelps has been locating his slider.
By keeping the ball low and inside to right handed hitters, and low and away to lefties, Phelps can regularly induce weak contact to, hopefully, get his opponents out quickly.
So what would it take to get Miami to part ways with an effective relief pitcher? Probably not a lot.
Phelps is controlled through 2018, so any team that trades for him has one and a half years with him on their roster. As a result, that will somewhat limit the asking price the Marlins will be able to request for him; especially since he’s not a super dominating reliever that can come in and close out games. Which means that he could be relatively cheap way to shore up Seattle’s bullpen if Dipoto is able to reach a deal with the Marlins.
H/T to Joe Veyera for bringing Fenisand’s tweet to my attention