Today it was made official that JA Happ is back with the Phillies. He returned with Adam Eaton being sent down to AAA Lehigh Valley.
Meanwhile, the Phils are still searching for pitching help, mainly in the form of a left-handed reliever capable of getting outs late in games.
Happ’s performance both as a Phillie and in the minors make for an interesting subplot that could alter the team drastically. Yesterday on ESPN Radio 950, Jayson Stark told Jody Mac anything was possible with the Phillies’ pitching situation. The thought remains: Could Brett Myers linger back to the bullpen?
While it seems risky and an absolute backtracking, it could solve the Phils very real problem about the bullpen.
Currently, nobody knows the condition of Tom Gordon. He has thrown pitches and is “on the way back,” but there’s no indication he’ll be close to a late-innings guy when and if he returns. Moreover, he wasn’t much of a late-innings guy when he was healthy this season.
JC Romero, being shuttled as a pseudo-all fields-reliever, is ineffective against right-handed hitters. He has to be going against lefties 90 percent of the time.
Chad Durbin, while outstanding all season, shouldn’t be called upon too much in all types of roles. He thrives in the swing position, and you don’t to blow out what has been the Phils’ most reliable arm.
Ryan Madson, as we’ve seen recently, is not a money late-innings pitcher. He was best used in middle relief and is unfairly categorized above that spot in the depth chart.
By placing Myers back in the bullpen, he instantly becomes the eighth-inning bridge. You hope he can channel his best stuff and utilize it for one inning â€” that is, a lot of curveballs, mixed with some well-placed fastballs and changeups. Obviously, the risk is you basically have a guy as effective as Gordon out there. But all things considered, Myers could thrive in this role.
That move alone pushes the chart back. Romero is your lefty specialist in the late innings, Durbin gets the top middle relief spot and can be used in swing situations, Madson falls into middle relief and Clay Condrey retains the mop-up post. When and if Gordon returns, he could become an experienced fastball/curveball guy for backup purposes.
The Phils can choose to still upgrade with a left-handed reliever, and he would be used along with Romero in an interchangeable situation.
Then, of course, the Phils would have an absolute five-man rotation with not much room for error. Adam Eaton becomes your insurance policy â€” not the best one to have â€” unless the front office wants to take a gamble with Carlos Carrasco or someone of that ilk.
There are clear possible benefits and possible pitfalls with moving Myers back to the bullpen, but the question should be raised? Is it worth it?