Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon became the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest addition last offseason. Heading into this season, “Cinco Ocho” appears to have a deeper contingent of colleagues in his bullpen.
While most of the veteran closer's work was traditionally conducted in the ninth inning, he was needed for a number of one-plus inning rescues as well. The large collection of young arms that were used to fill the gap from the starting pitcher's exit to number 58's entrance wasn't fully planned, but was necessary. Injuries and ineffectiveness, caused Papelbon and some other bullpen men to have their roles expanded by forced choice last season.
Antonio Bastardo's first-half troubles and an early season injury to Michael Stutes set the stage for middle-inning malaise. While numerous other young pitchers showed sporadic promise, Jeremy Horst (who was obtained from the Cincinnati Reds in the Wilson Valdez trade) was the only novice who demonstrated seasonal consistency. However, his 31.33 innings weren't nearly enough for Charlie Manuel's needs.
The recent addition of former Texas Rangers' setup man Mike Adams filled an important roster spot this offseason. The 34-year old veteran is basically expected to fill Ryan Madson's old spot. If Adams and Papelbon can remain healthy, they will form one of the best late-inning relays in the major leagues.