Philadelphia Phillies left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo received an $895,000 raise in his new one-year contract. Beyond established payment amounts that must be offered to various arbitration-eligible players, the Phillies certainly wanted to show this young man that they believe in his immediate potential.
The 27-year-old first gained prominence within the bullpen during the 2011 season. He and Michael Stutes unexpectedly filled important holes that a variety of injury issues caused for Charlie Manuel‘s franchise record-setting 102-win team.
Bastardo’s eye-opening 0.931 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) belied a strong arm that potentially had “future closer” stamped on it. At the very least, he seemed primed to continue his set-up role in 2012.
Last season’s effort was split between control issues in the first half and slowly regaining command as the schedule played out. While Bastardo’s overall numbers were worse last season, the fact that he was pitching through his second truly full major league season wasn’t lost on the front office.
This new $1.4 million contract comes with the expectation that number 37 will pitch consistently in 2013. The addition of former Texas Rangers free agent reliever Mike Adams, who intends to be the primary set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon, should position Bastardo for success.