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Phillies Moving Elite Prospect Into Bullpen But It Might Not Be Permanent

The Philadelphia Phillies made the decision to move one of their elite pitching prospects into the bullpen for the upcoming season.

Entering the 2024 season, the Philadelphia Phillies' major concern is their bullpen.

After that unit put up one of their best years in recent memory when they finished seventh in the league with a 3.58 ERA, the loss of Craig Kimbrel looms large after he appeared in 71 games, posted an ERA of 3.26, and had 23 saves in 28 opportunities.

Who will be named the closer is a question, as well as if they're going to use a committee approach in the ninth inning.

There are options that they have in the minors with players who don't make the Opening Day roster as they can be assigned to Triple-A without going through waivers.

Still, the potential they need another piece looms large.

News reported by Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that the Phillies are moving their No. 11 prospect, Griff McGarry, into the bullpen could present them another option.

The right-hander was solely used as a starting pitcher last season, getting the majority of his action at Double-A where he posted a 3.13 ERA across 13 starts and 54 2/3 innings pitched.

But when he moved up to Triple-A, he had a disastrous showing.

McGarry gave up 20 earned runs in three starts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

His control has been a major concern as the amount of walks raised through each level of increased competition he faced.

Philadelphia is hoping that a move into the bullpen helps that.

It's also not a role uncommon to the 24-year-old. He's appeared in relief 12 times during his minor league career and was used as a reliever 14 times at the University of Virginia in addition to his 28 starts.

Coffey noted that manager Rob Thomson said McGarry took the news of his move "very well" after he was reassigned to their minor league camp to focus on his new duty.

However, Thomson isn't closing the book on the prospect becoming a starting pitcher once again at the big league level.

".... if it goes very well, and we start stretching him out again, then he becomes a starter. So, for right now, he's going to be out of the bullpen," he told Coffey.

The need for the Phillies to have starting pitchers ready to emerge out of their pipeline was diminished after they handed out a long-term deal to Aaron Nola and extended Zack Wheeler.

There's a chance McGarry has a more impactful role with Philadelphia out of the bullpen this season if he's called upon to make his Major League debut.