Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves for 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Gregorius gives the Phillies a second left-side bat with power in the middle of the order. Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images. /

Coin flip:     

For Phillies fans, Hamels in their foe’s uniform is distasteful in the abstract and during an away contest, but the spectators at the bank may not appreciate his current status. However, the only players who were here in 2015 with Hamels were Aaron Nola and Adam Morgan plus Hector Neris in 2014 and 2015.

In the bullpen, Melancon is the named closer despite Smith receiving $40 million for three campaigns. So, Melancon will have little room for error with Smith around. Their other deadline acquisitions: Greene, who quickly lost the closing role, will be a setup man, and Martin will also. Atlanta re-upped Greene and Martin.

Who will fill the hot-corner vacancy? Last May, the answer was Austin Riley in line with organizational planning, and he hit .356 with seven bombs and 20 RBIs for the second half of that month. Does a big May ring Philly bells? Well, Riley did what Brown had done after that magical month: Camargo’s job now?

When they were healthy, Dominguez, Morgan and Arano provided acceptable outings (75-80 percent success); plus Neris, Alvarez and Suarez were effective, not brilliant. So, that’s six of eight pen seats plus a former starter and maybe a non-roster invitee winning a spot in camp. Not a total disaster, no?

While some fans expect relievers to have the 90 percent success of top-tier closers, they also want more than an innings-eater with a 4.50 ERA slotting fifth. But even championship teams have that caliber of stater when you scope out the competition and don’t cloud your view with generalizations before pitch one.

Basically, pitching coach Bryan Price could help Velasquez, Pivetta and maybe Suarez and give one the opportunity to work every fifth day, while the other two would join the relief corps. Plus considering Price works individually with each moundsman, you should expect surprises with him coaching those 13 hurlers.