Phillies: Bullpen decisions now on front burner

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Catcher Yan Gomes #7 celebrates with closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 18, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Catcher Yan Gomes #7 celebrates with closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 18, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Expect the Phillies to now make a big push for Britton. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images. /

Bullpen blueprint:

Since the end of the Winter Meetings, some writers are again penciling in Neshek and Hunter as setup men for the Phillies because Klentak didn’t move them and didn’t publicly discuss powwows about them. No rumors, no action? Some deals happen in mid-December, but others don’t: groundwork.

While Arano, Ramos and Pazos are still at or near the MLB minimum of roughly $0.5 million, the arbitration estimate for Morgan is $1.1 million, and $1.7 million is the forecast for Alvarez. As for available veterans, Neshek’s pact is $6.5 million, while Hunter and Nicasio are at $9 million. That $24.5 million easily covers a closer.

Regarding Nicasio, he had a 6.00 ERA, but his ERA estimators were nearly half of his ERA: a 2.99 FIP, a 3.18 xFIP and a 2.60 SIERA. Yes, he and Jean Segura were salary dumps, but Nicasio is better than his ’18 ERA: the Seattle Mariners decided to do a quick rebuild after not making the playoffs last summer.

Depending on pitching acquisitions before spring training, Klentak already has a possible long man in Eickhoff or others due to a loss of another rotation slot because of a new starter’s addition. Basically, the GM was in on every signed lefty available. But it’s not over yet!

While 2018’s end approaches, Klentak has his offensive pieces in place and can take his best shot at Harper: a left-side bat with power for the two or four slot. Of course, Scott Boras will do what he did with Arrieta, and some fans will not accept waiting despite having no choice in the matter.

For the starting staff, Klentak is in the mix for two free agents and two trade candidates, but signing a closer will probably happen next. But adding a “hammer” and a starter plus subtracting setup men equals many moving parts and negotiating, which requires one major GM skill. What is patience?