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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: David Phelps

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

We signed David Phelps to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

Phelps was a Blue Jay in 2019, pitching in 17 games, putting up a 3.18 ERA, and then on July 30, we traded him to the Cubs for Tom Hatch, a trade that I really liked and liked more when we saw Hatch pitch last year. Since then, Phelps pitched for the Brewers and the Phillies last year. In total, 22 games, with a 6.53 ERA. He was very good for the Brewers, but there is something in the water they drink out in the Phillies’ bullpen. He had 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings, giving up 5 home runs.

By FanGraphs, last year, his fastball averaged 94.6 MPH (two years after Tommy John, the season before, he averaged 92.7). And he threw a cutter, slider, and curve, each about 25% of the time.

He is 34 now, and he hasn’t had the best spring, but then 12 strikeouts in 7 innings are nothing to sneeze at.

I’m supposed to say he brings a veteran presence to the bullpen and a calming voice to all the young guys in the bullpen, but things like that generally go into the circular file holder for me. It does seem like he is a good guy, and I’m sure there is value in that. But then, I also think that that is what pitching coaches are for.

What’s his role? One of several setup men. He’s a one-inning pitcher, though he did go two innings once last year and got more than three outs four other times, but for the most part, he’ll just an inning.

And, with Kirby Yates gone, he might get the odd save opportunity.

ZiPS predicts him to pitch in 48 games with a 3.86 ERA (and 10.36 strikeouts per nine innings).

PECOTA figures 57 appearances and a 3.53 ERA (and 10.05 k per 9).


If the over/under on Phelps’ appearances is 50 I’d take the

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