Phils add bullpen depth, acquire Rucker from Cubs

February 6th, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are trying to create more flexibility for their 2024 bullpen.

The Phils announced Tuesday afternoon that they acquired right-hander from the Cubs for cash considerations. To make room for Rucker on the 40-man roster, right-hander Andrew Bellatti was designated for assignment.

Rucker, 29, had a 4.91 ERA in 35 appearances last season with Chicago. He has a 4.96 ERA in 96 career appearances over the past three seasons, striking out 120 and walking 50 in 123 1/3 innings. Bellatti, 32, had a 5.11 ERA in 27 appearances with the Phillies. He finished the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Bellatti, who had a 3.31 ERA in 59 appearances in 2022, was out of options, while Rucker has one remaining. The deal gives the Phillies more choices in how they construct the 26-man roster. José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, Gregory Soto and Seranthony Domínguez are locks to make the eight-man bullpen. Orion Kerkering is considered a heavy favorite.

Assuming Kerkering makes it, two bullpen jobs are available.

Right-handers Connor Brogdon and Dylan Covey are bullpen candidates. Both, like Bellatti, are out of options. Other candidates on the 40-man roster with options remaining include righties Yunior Marte, Michael Mercado, McKinley Moore, Nick Nelson, and Luis Ortiz. The Phillies signed left-hander Kolby Allard on Jan. 23 to a $1 million contract to provide rotation depth. He also has an option remaining.