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Phils turn 'pen focus to Britton, Minor

December 21, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Just a week ago, it seemed like the Phillies were headed to a multi-year deal with left-hander Andrew Miller.Instead, multiple reports on Thursday have Miller headed to St. Louis.It leaves the Phillies still searching for elite bullpen help before Spring Training. Philadelphia has pursued free-agent left-hander Zach Britton.

PHILADELPHIA -- Just a week ago, it seemed like the Phillies were headed to a multi-year deal with left-hander Andrew Miller.
Instead, multiple reports on Thursday have Miller headed to St. Louis.
It leaves the Phillies still searching for elite bullpen help before Spring Training. Philadelphia has pursued free-agent left-hander Zach Britton. He could be the club's closer, if it offers him enough money to sign. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the Phils and Yankees are the top two contenders for him. Britton, who turns 31 on Saturday, went 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 41 appearances last season with the Orioles and Yanks. He posted a 4.22 FIP.
Two sources said the Phillies have been talking to the Rangers about left-hander Mike Minor. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal said Thursday that the Mets and Phils are showing the "heaviest" interest in him. Rosenthal also reported that Minor has a 10-team no-trade list. The Mets are on it. Philly is not.

One source said the Phillies like Minor because of his ability to pitch as a starter or reliever. He would compete for a job in the Phils' rotation next spring. Minor, who turns 31 on Wednesday, went 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 28 starts last season. He posted a 4.43 FIP.
If Minor does not win a rotation job, he could be effective in the bullpen. He went 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA and a 2.62 FIP in 65 appearances with the Royals in 2017.
Free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel remains on the market. Reports earlier this offseason had his agents seeking a six-year contract. It is hard to believe the Phillies would come anywhere close to that, but if Kimbrel lingers on the market into late January and his asking price drops to the three- or four-year range, perhaps the Phils might flex some financial muscles and make an aggressive offer.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.