Tanner Scott

Getty Tanner Scott

The Philadelphia Phillies could use one more arm to round out their bullpen, and Tanner Scott could be just the guy for the job.

Philadelphia is interested in the Marlins’ left-handed reliever, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman adds that the Yankees, Orioles, Dodgers and others are also interested.

With a 46-22 record headed into play on June 14, the Phillies have the best record in the National League and appear to be cruising toward an NL East title. FanGraphs gives them an 83.3% chance to win the division and a 12.9% chance to win the World Series, second in the NL only to the Dodgers.

For his part, Scott has been solid for the Marlins this year. He’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA over 28 innings and allowed just 14 hits in that time. The bad news is that his walk rate (16.8%) is the highest it has ever been — and command has been a career-long issue for him. At the same time, his strikeout rate has also dropped.

The good news for Scott is that he’s giving up weaker contact than he ever has. Opponents are hitting .182 on balls in play, and are hitting fewer line drives and making more soft contact than he ever has in his career, per FanGraphs.

Do the Phillies Need Tanner Scott?

The Phillies have a core of solid relievers, but the team isn’t satisfied.

“You can always have more bullpen depth,” Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski told Matt Gelb of The Athletic in a story that ran Friday. “When you look at the four guys that we have at the back, they’ve been tremendous. And now Seranthony [Domínguez] is starting to throw better.”

The tricky part with Scott to the Phillies is that the back end of the bullpen is pretty much set, barring injury. Scott can close, as he’s done 8 times this year for the Marlins, but right now that’s Jose Alvarado’s job. Behind him, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm have been two of the best relievers in all of baseball, each sporting sub-1.00 ERAs.

The lack of a desperate need for Scott means another team could easily outbid them. On the other hand, with Scott’s questionable control numbers and impending free agency, his asking price won’t be as high as other back-end relievers.

The Phillies’ Other Priorities

Philadelphia will no doubt keep an eye on the bullpen market as the trade deadline approaches, but that’s probably not going to be the team’s first priority.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden reported earlier this month that the Phillies will look for help in the outfield and that the bullpen may even be an afterthought.

Jim Bowden on Phillies Trade discussions:

“I’ve had 3 GM’s tell me this week that the Phillies #1 priority is outfield and they really haven’t been talking to teams about bullpen”

“I’ve had three GM’s tell me this week that the Phillies No. 1 priority is outfield and they really haven’t been talking to teams about bullpen,” he said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio.

Johan Rojas and Nick Castellanos haven’t hit well and Brandon Marsh is working his way back from injury. Whit Merrifield hasn’t produced much offense in a utility role, either.

Then there’s catcher, where JT Realmuto is out for a month with a meniscus injury. Knock on wood, he should be back long before the deadline, but any setbacks could open up another area of need for the Phillies.

There’s a lot to monitor in Philadelphia. There’s no doubt that adding someone like Scott to the bullpen could make them better. It’s just a matter of whether he is the right fit at the right time.

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