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Article:Should the Phillies go after Otsuka?

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As I look over the list of the free agent relievers I am puzzled and unenthused.  Especially given the huge contracts that middle relievers have been signing this off-season.  Will someone tell me how Ron Mahay got a two year eight million dollar contract?

The Philadelphia Phillies have certainly improved their bullpen since the end of the 2007 season.  Assuming the Phillies carry 12 pitchers they will have 7 spots for relievers.  Brad Lidge will be the closer, J.C. Romero will serve as set up man, with Ryan Madson, and Tom Gordon in middle relief.  If I had to guess I think the last three spots would go to Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, and Adam Eaton.  That’s a solid group but the Phillies could still improve.

There has been great speculation that the Phillies will try to sign reliever Akinori Otsuka.  At first I thought Akinori Otsuka would be a great fit as a middle reliever for the Phillies.  Otsuka has a microscopic 2.44 career ERA.  However, looking into Otsuka it became clear why he was non-tendered by the Texas Rangers.  The first issue is the problem of his health.  Otsuka spent a lot of time spent on the disabled list last season.  If he’s not healthy there’s no reason to sign him.  The second reason for concern is his statistics.  Each season he has spent in the Majors his strike out rate have gone down and his walk rates vacillated up and down.  That’s not good.  If healthy and if the Phillies sign him to a one-year contract for a reasonable price then it could be totally worth it. From thephansblog.com


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