Philadelphia Phillies: Is Alex Reyes worth taking a flier on?

You can never have enough pitching. This concept is something the Philadelphia Phillies are awfully familiar with. Well, sort of. The running gag around baseball the last few seasons has been that Philadelphia simply didn’t have much of any pitching. In 2020, the Phils found themselves with the worst bullpen in the modern era, finishing with a bullpen ERA of 7.06.

The 2021 bullpen finished with an ERA of 4.60 which compared to 2020 is a massive step forward. Anytime you can knock two and a half runs off your team’s ERA, you are going to be thrilled. But in reality, it was still incredibly below average, finishing 24th in all of baseball. The only teams that were worse were the Rockies, Reds, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Orioles, all bottom-feeders.

Now obviously, the 2022 bullpen for the Philadelphia Phillies took a big step forward, helping the team reach the World Series for the first time since 2009. For the regular season, they finished with a bullpen ERA of 4.27. The postseason saw this number drop all the way down to 2.62, and it was a large reason for the team’s success. Even still, you can never have enough pitching; and Alex Reyes having been non-tendered on Friday by the Cardinals is certainly interesting.

Should the Philadelphia Phillies kick the tires on reliever Alex Reyes?

The right-hander’s career has been littered with injuries. He missed the entire 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, and between 2018 and 2020, he only threw 26 and 2/3’s innings. 2021 however was a different story, as the New Jersey native appeared in 69 games for the Cardinals and made his first career All-Star game. He finished that season with an ERA of 3.24 and closed out 29 games for the Red Birds.

Naturally, all those good vibes were wiped away as Alex Reyes once again missed the entire 2022 season due to a shoulder injury. This led to the Cardinals deciding to move on, and it made one of the more interesting relief pitchers available to any teams interested in his services.

A change of scenery could work wonders for Reyes, and there is certainly no denying his ability. The big issue when he has been healthy has been the inability to throw strikes consistently. His career walk rate is 15.5% which, when compared to the league average in 2022 of 8.5%, looks awful. However, aside from staying healthy, it’s really the only thing that has hampered the right-hander.

Opposing hitters have slashed a measly .189/.318/.291 and have a strikeout rate of 28.4%. The league average strikeout rate for pitchers in 2022 was 22.3%, so there is no denying the swing-and-miss ability that Alex Reyes possesses.

Clearly, whatever team takes a flier on Reyes, it would be a gamble. There are no guarantees that he will be able to stay healthy, and there are no guarantees that if healthy, he will be able to recapture the dominance he has shown in the past. But with that said, the thought of “fixing” him is incredibly intriguing, especially when you consider he will only be 28 years old on Opening Day.

Seranthony Dominguez is a great example of a success story the Philadelphia Phillies have had with oft-injured relief pitchers. He essentially missed three straight seasons with arm issues, only to return in 2022 and announce his dominance to the baseball world.

Who knows, maybe lightning will strike twice for Philadelphia. If they do decide to make a move for Reyes, it could blow up in their face; but it could also end up being the best bargain on the open market. And who doesn’t like to take a gamble every now and then?