The Phillies spent over $700 million on free agents the last three offseasons. Spending all over baseball could be impacted this winter by revenues lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's not going to stop us from taking a daily look these next few weeks at some free agents who would fill needs and help the Phillies get better.
Today: Reliever Shane Greene
Career to date
Greene broke in as a starter with Joe Girardi’s New York Yankees in 2014 and was part of a three-team deal in December of that year that ultimately landed him in Detroit while Didi Gregorius went from Arizona to the Yankees. Greene eventually ended up in the bullpen and blossomed into a top closer with the Tigers, saving 32 games in 2018. He made the American League All-Star team in July 2019 and was traded to Atlanta, where he worked as a setup man, later that month.
Over the last two seasons, Greene has pitched to a 2.39 ERA in 93 appearances. He has allowed just 68 hits in 90⅓ innings while striking out 85 and walking 26. During his time in Atlanta, he led the Braves in appearances with 55 and holds with 19.
Greene made 28 appearances for the National League East champion Braves and had a 2.60 ERA. He gave up 22 hits and just two homers in 27⅔ innings.
The right-hander is mostly a sinker/slider pitcher, but an improved changeup has become a good weapon. His strikeouts were down from 9.2 to 6.8 per nine innings in 2020, but he did strike out four of the five batters he faced in Game 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He generally keeps the ball on the ground and relies on the ability to limit hard contact.
Greene pitched five scoreless innings in four appearances against the Phillies in 2020.
How he’d impact the Phillies
The Phillies had the worst bullpen in the majors in 2020 and are in need of a full overhaul. Greene’s track record and versatility in the late innings could certainly help the club in a setup or closer role. His ability to keep the ball on the ground would fit well in Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have had previous interest in Greene, who turns 32 this month. They considered acquiring him in July 2019, before he went to the Braves and helped them win two division titles.
The relief market is strong and while closers Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand, Trevor Rosenthal, Alex Colome and Mark Melancon will generate much of the buzz, Greene would be a nice pickup for a team looking to get better near the end of games. He was well worth the $6.25 million he made last year. He would be a good candidate for a multi-year deal in a normal market and might still be in this one.
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