Phillies Add Rucker in Trade with Cubs, Designate Bellatti
The Phillies made a small trade on Tuesday afternoon to add to their bullpen. The Phillies announced that they have acquired right-handed reliever Michael Rucker from the Cubs in exchange for cash considerations. To make room for Rucker, the Phillies needed to open space on their 40-man roster.
Reliever Andrew Bellatti, who was oft-used in 2022 but fell out of favor in 2023, was designated for assignment. The Phillies will perhaps see if Bellatti will clear waivers and can remain in the organization. Otherwise they must trade or release Bellatti.
Rucker has appeared in 96 major league games over the last three seasons, all with the Cubs, going 5-2 with a 4.96 earned run average. Rucker is a strikeout pitcher, striking out 8.93 per nine innings. His fastball topped out at 94.6 miles per hour in 2023.
Bellatti appeared in 27 games in 2023. He went 1-0 with a 5.11 earned run average and a WHIP of 1.50. Out of options, he would have to make the Phillies roster or the club would otherwise lose him.
Rucker has one contract option remaining, meaning the Phillies can send him to Triple-A in 2024 for depth. He will have Spring Training to make the case that he belongs in a bullpen that will feature Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, and Jeff Hoffman.
Also under consideration include Connor Brogdon and Dylan Covey, both out of options, as well as Yunior Marte and Luis Ortiz, who remain under control.
Orion Kerkering is not a lock, but will certainly also be a bullpen arm to watch.
Pitchers and catchers report next Wednesday.