Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Phillies Option Myers to Triple-A Lehigh Valley

The Phillies have sent inconsistent starter Brett Myers to their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. 

They are lucky that Myers was willing to agree to this, and it was probably the best thing that the team could have done. There was a lot of talk of sending Myers to the bullpen, but the problem with that is who would they take out. Myers and Chad Durbin could have been switched, but Charlie Manuel likes Durbin in the bullpen because of the versatility he offers. Myers in the bullpen might have been fine, but he wouldn't be closing due to the dominance of Brad Lidge, and if he were to replace Durbin, he'd be one of the long relievers, which may or may not produce better results than if he were starting. If Tom Gordon's shoulder proves to be an extended issue, then Myers could have been the set up man, but it would be best for Myers not to be bouncing back and forth between roles. He has shown hints of being a dominant starter this season, and he has also shown improvement in his ability to keep his composure. His main issue has been the inconsistency of his fastball and having a hard time finding ways to get through situations when that pitch isn't working for him. A trip to the minors in order to work on some of those issues could help immensely in preparation for the second half of the season. If he's successful there, he could give the team a boost if they're unable to acquire another starter by the trade deadline. 

There was no indication of who would replace Myers in the rotation. Kris Benson isn't quite ready to return to the majors, though he could be the eventual replacement barring any further setbacks. Other options in the Triple A club would be 25 year old J.A. Happ (5-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts), who joined the major league club for some time last year, and Brian Mazone who was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. The 31 year old lefty has gone 8-6 with a 3.28 ERA in 17 starts including a complete game shutout. The Phillies will also likely look into the trade market for options, though they don't have a whole lot to offer for a C.C. Sabathia or Erik Bedard. Shane Victorino or Jayson Werth could be dealt, but a trade would probably need to involve pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco, who the team wants to hold onto. They might be able to find an out of work veteran and give him a shot, the way they got Rudy Seanez and Steve Kline earlier in the year. They're 1-1 in that situation. The team will probably use yesterday's day off to buy them some time and keep the rotation on their five-day schedule. When it comes time for another starter, Mazone or Happ will likely get the call, though the fact that a promotion wasn't announced with the demotion could mean that something is in the works. 

1 comment:

Brian Raab said...

It's a shame it had to come to this, but clearly something had to be done. Kudos to Brett Myers for recognizing that and going along with the demotion. A lot of players in his position would have refused, but Myers instead put the team first. Once again, the Phillies demonstrate great team leadership and chemistry by the way they handled this situation.