The Phillies have made it know that they will be sending Brett Myers to the pen in order to make room for Jon Lieber in the starting rotation. There have been no comments from either Myers or Lieber, but Charlie Manuel has said that Myers will be the eighth inning set-up man and the guy who fills in for Gordon as closer if Gordon needs a day off or gets hurt. This seems like Charlie’s way of making this move sound better to Brett Myers.
Now this is just an opinion, but this move reeks of desperation. I understand the team is 3-9 and something had to be done, but was this the right move or was it really the only move that could have been made short of firing Charlie to try to get the team’s attention? The Phillies made this move b/c Myers has expressed a willingness to go to the pen to help his team while Lieber pouts about coming out of the pen. Myers also has the luxury of having just signed a three year deal while Lieber is a free agent after this year.
We all know what the issues have been for the Phillies in the first twelve games. They can not hit with runners in scoring position and the bullpen has been a mess to say the least. In fact they rank last in the NL in ERA and last in batting average against; therefore it would not be too much of a strecth to say the entire pitching staff has been a horrid. Its not like the Phils can bench Howard or Utley in order to solve the lack of clutch hitting. Is bringing in Nunez to play third every night or playing Ruiz over Barajas going to fix anything? I think not. So how does the Myers/Lieber move help the Phillies? I contend that Pat Gillick and friends believe that if Lieber goes out and has a few good starts his trade value will go up. That of course means that Lieber better pitch well, which is not a sure thing.
Even if Jon does pitch well, and the Phillies are able to get a good bullpen arm in return for him, then what? Bring Myers back to the rotation after he has spent a month (or more) in the pen. Seems a lot like what they did with Madson last year. Its going to be a complete disaster no matter what happens. Is this the beginning of the end for the 2007 Phillies?