The Los Angeles Dodgers again find themselves without a set closer for the second consecutive offseason as Craig Kimbrel signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Prior to Kimbrel agreeing to terms with the reigning National League champions, Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes explained the club did not necessarily feel a need to have a dedicated closer in 2023. Gomes instead suggested the likes of Daniel Hudson and Evan Phillips could be part of the equation.
Phillips pitched his way into a high-leverage role last season and appears primed to continue building on that success.
However, during a recent interview with David Vassegh on “Dodger Talk,” Phillips explained that although he is open to being the Dodgers’ closer, pitching in the same role as 2022 would be just as fine, via AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“Honestly, it hasn’t really crossed my mind at all. I’m prepared to pitch in a similar fashion as I did last year. You and I have had this conversation about how we don’t necessarily value one particularly inning any more so than the others. So I think as a reliever taking that mindset into getting outs, if that equates to finishing the game, I did the plenty of times last year.
“So if that’s something where I’m called upon for a more consistent role to finish the game and get those final outs, I definitely think I’m capable of doing so. If they prefer me in a similar role to last season, I’d be more than happy to help in that way as well.”
Phillips finished last season with a 1.14 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 0.76 WHIP, .153 batting average against, 33% strikeout rate and 6.4% walk rate over 63 innings pitched. Phillips’ 2022 was further highlighted by a team-leading 19 holds.
Sustained success throughout the year helped fuel Phillips’ confidence as being able to be consistent was an area he felt hadn’t previously been achieved.
Evan Phillips ranked by The Shredder
MLB Network is in the midst of positional rankings by The Shredder, which placed Phillips fourth on the list of Top-10 Relief Pitchers Right Now for the 2023 season.
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