Philadelphia Phillies: Dominguez setback could wreck the bullpen

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies issued some bad news on Wednesday about Seranthony Dominguez, and it could have some widespread consequences.

Their season effectively torpedoed by a bullpen that couldn’t stay healthy in 2019, it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies might just be getting it out of the way early in 2020.

When you look at the Phillies’ offseason strategy of “bring in every veteran with a pulse” to help fill out their bullpen, you have to figure that one of the reasons they didn’t spend more money in that area is because they were counting on a big bounceback season from Seranthony Dominguez.

More from Philadelphia Phillies

But now his status is up in the air after it was confirmed that he suffered some kind of “setback” in Sunday’s spring outing, the severity of which won’t be known until later in the week at the earliest.

Dominguez, of course, was one of the many Phils relievers to go down with an injury last year, as he suffered an arm issue and didn’t throw a major league pitch after June 5. Opting for rehab instead of surgery, it looked like things might have been working out for the best until this latest news.

Granted, there is a chance that it’s not seen as anything severe, giving Seranthony a chance to get back into game action in the first few weeks of the season. But what about a worst case scenario that would shelf him for all of 2020 and probably part of next year also? Well, that would be a catastrophe.

If he were healthy and showing the same flashes he did when he arrived out of nowhere in 2018, Dominguez would be an excellent 8th inning option for the Phillies, and maybe even the closer in short order if something were to happen to Hector Neris. But now, if a lengthy absence is in order, this Phillies bullpen is SOL (severely out of luck).

The Phils can talk all they want about last year’s big offseason that bolstered the offense or about what they did this year to bring in Zach Wheeler and Didi Gregorius. But their bullpen strategy last year (signing David Robertson and rolling with some other supposedly dependable veterans who commanded premium prices for relievers) blew up so badly in their faces that it clearly made them gun shy about putting major resources into the bullpen again this year. Now it might really cost them.

Even with a healthy Dominguez, the Phillies’ relieving corps isn’t anything to write home about. But the road just got a lot tougher if he’s out for any length of time, as Joe Girardi will have to mix and match with whatever journeymen and rotation battle loser(s) the team decides to carry when the season starts.

Other than Neris, there isn’t much out there to inspire any kind of confidence. By extension, more pressure will shift to the rotation to go deeper into games and to the offense to provide as much support as possible. It’s quite the domino effect, and not in a fun way like Domino Rally.

Next. The 2000 Phillies: Preparing for futility. dark

Let’s all hope that Seranthony and the other banged up members of this bullpen ride to the rescue fairly soon, because if the Phillies start losing games late because opponents feast on their relievers, those early losses will prove to be exceedingly difficult to overcome later in the season.