2. David Phelps, RHP
You may remember David Phelps for the 4 weeks or so he was with the Mariners back in 2017. Unfortunately, not long after Seattle acquired him, he hit the shelf with Tommy John surgery and never pitched for them again. But that could be about to change.
Phelps missed all of the 2018 season but returned in 2019 with the Blue Jays. Phelps was good enough to find himself traded to the Cubs, who ultimately declined his player option. But despite that, Phelps had a really good bounceback season and could take another step as he moves further away from TJ surgery.
In 2019, Phelps threw 34.1 innings in 41 appearances and posted a 3.41 ERA, a 4.58 FIP, a 9.44 K/9, and a 4.46 BB/9. Both his fastball and curveball created above-average spin rates. Phelps best two offerings are his cutter and curveball and prior to his surgery, he was one of the better middle-relievers in the game.
Obviously, the hope with Phelps is that now a full year removed from surgery, he can get back to throwing 50-70 innings while posting strikeout rates closer to 10.5 K/9. He has never been an elite command guy, as his 3.57 BB/9 rate will show, but he has good stuff and can generate swing and misses often.
Prior to his injury in 2017, Phelps flashed upper-echelon set-up man type of stuff and he could get there again. Seattle may even be able to offer him a chance to be the closer for a season, racking up saves and dollars with a solid bounceback campaign.
This late in free agency, teams are looking for lottery tickets. Phelps has a good chance of paying off and while the payout may not be the mega millions jackpot, you won’t be complaining if he hits his upside.
His medicals are going to be a big deal for any team looking to sign him. But if he is healthy, it seems like a no-brainer for a team that desperately needs veterans in their bullpen.