Evan Phillips Open To Any Role In Dodgers Bullpen

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers leaned on the strength of their bullpen last season by using a number of arms at the backend of games with a great deal of success.

Taking that same philosophy into the offseason, the Dodgers brought re-signed Joe Kelly and Ryan Brasier, who broke out in his first stint with the team. Evan Phillips wound up getting the majority of save opportunities, going 24-of-27 in save chances.

The right-hander logged a 2.05 ERA, 3.16 FIP with a 28.2% strikeout rate across 61.1 innings (62 games). Heading into this season, Phillips is again open to any role within the Dodgers bullpen.

“We haven’t had a lot of communication about anything specific at this point,” Phillips recently said. “I would expect to contribute in a very important way. I would like to continue closing games, but my mindset has always been to do whatever it takes to help us win.

“So if they approach me with different ideas and things like that, then sure, I’ll be open to it. But at this current point, I expect to be closing games for the team.”

To his credit, the Dodgers have generally relied on Phillips’ availability in the game’s biggest moments.

“I think managing those three outs specifically are a bit different than you would in the sixth or seventh inning when you still have some game to play,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ use in the ‘fireman role’ is also another area where he excels, and in appearances prior to the ninth inning, he posted a 2.18 ERA, 2.92 FIP and .178 batting average allowed in 20.2 innings.

Although his strikeout rate took a step back in 2023, Phillips lowered his walk rate to a career-best 5.6%, which is a big factor in why he’s been so successful in limiting blow up outings.

Dave Roberts: Evan Phillips to get bulk of save opportunities

Although Phillips stepped into a role with the Dodgers that he’s been their go-to option in save opportunities, he’s never been tabbed as solely a closer.

However, Phillips has earned the heavy consideration in being their best leverage arm.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed that, hinting that it’ll be the same plan going forward.

“I think with Evan, what he did in that role, he did a very nice job,” Roberts explained. I wouldn’t say committee. It’s a good conversation. I don’t think we need to make it right now. I do see Evan doing the brunt of the closing of games.”

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