The Phillies have had “substantive” talks with free-agent reliever Mychal Givens as they continue their quest to bolster the back end of their bullpen, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. The hard-throwing righty is a first-time free agent and coming off a 3.35 ERA in 51 frames between the Rockies and Reds this past season. Givens, 31, punched out a quarter of his opponents in 2021 but also walked 12.5% of the batters he faced. Givens has long been a steady reliever, as evidenced by a 3.41 ERA in nearly 400 MLB innings, but he’s seen his strikeout and walk rates trend in the wrong direction over the past couple seasons, while his HR/9 mark has more than doubled from 0.73 in 2015-18 to 1.65 from 2019-21.
Some more bullpen rumblings from around the game…
- The Mets officially bid farewell to a key lefty reliever this week when Aaron Loup signed a two-year contract with the Angels, and one name they’re intrigued by as they search for alternatives is Twins closer Taylor Rogers, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Rogers (31 next month) has been one of the game’s best lefties since a breakout 2018 season, pitching to a combined 2.91 ERA with a huge 31.2% strikeout rate and a tiny 4.9% walk rate. There’s no firm indication that the Twins would be open to moving Rogers, but he’s in his final offseason of arbitration eligibility and projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $6.7MM in 2022. That’s plenty reasonable for a reliever with Rogers’ track record, but the lefty saw his 2021 season end with a lengthy IL stint due to a damaged ligament in his pitching hand. Rogers surrendered six runs in his final 3 2/3 frames before landing on the IL just prior to the July 30 trade deadline, and he was unable to return thereafter.
- Speaking of Mets free agent, right-hander Jeurys Familia is on the Red Sox’ radar, reports WEEI’s Rob Bradford. The 32-year-old righty enjoyed a solid season with the Mets in 2021, pitching to a 3.94 ERA in 59 1/3 frames while matching a career-high 27.5% strikeout rate. Familia also cut back on 2019-20’s career-worst 15.5% walk rate, though last year’s 10.3% clip was still well north of the league average. Familia has plenty of closing experience, evidenced by 125 career saves, but is also no stranger to pitching in a setup capacity. He’d give the Sox another viable late-inning option in the event that incumbent closer Matt Barnes’ alarming second-half decline carries into the 2022 campaign.