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Phillies hope to improve bullpen with free agents

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Jonathan Papelbon was solid in his first season with the Phillies, but he will need some help if the Philadelphia bullpen expects to improve.

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Bob Brookover at the Philadelphia Inquirer gives fans a detailed preview of how the Phillies might improve their disappointing bullpen. Last season, the Phillies bullpen posted a 3.94 ERA, up from 3.45 in 2011. If not for closer Jonathan Papelbon (2.44 ERA), things would have been much worse.

For Brookover, the Phillies' biggest hole is in the eighth inning. Philadelphia had a 4.89 ERA in the eighth inning last year, which was second worst in the league.

So how will the Phillies fix this problem? Their relief staff currently consists of Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, and a bunch of inexperienced young arms. Brookover weighs a dozen veteran relievers that could be considered. His analysis is in-depth and spot-on. Here's an example:

Jon Rauch, New York Mets. The 34-year-old righthander was actually a bright spot in another dismal Mets season.

Pros: It's impossible not to like the 0.988 WHIP he posted last season.

Cons: He always seems to follow a good season with a bad one.

Click here to read the full article.