At some point, piling on the Astros will become too depressing and mean-spirited so we will just stop. The GM is a likable dude who interacts on Twitter and seems very wise. Which makes the Astros decision to move rotation cornerstone Brett Myers back to the bullpen, where he amassed 21 saves for the 2007 Phillies that much more curious.
Brett Myers most valuable skill at this point is his ability to eat innings.Be curious to hear the rationale for moving him to closer.
— David Cameron (@DCamreonFG) February 28, 2012
Precisely, Dave. After posting 4 fWAR in 2010, Myers numbers fell off drastically in 2011 while still giving the Astros more than 200 innings. Are those 200 innings now the responsibility of Livan Hernandez, signed for a song during the offseason?
Nick Mathews of the Houston Chronicle’s Ultimate Astros blog notes Myers previously had a vesting option dependant on numbers of starts but the team reworked the provision to ensure a successful season in the bullpen still activates the bonus.
The rotation options are predictably thin for a team expected to lose close to 100 games for the second consecutive season. Scrap heap pick-up Zach Duke may get some spots starts as well as top pitching prospect Paul Clemens, who came to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade but features worrisome platoon splits in the minors.
Most pressing than why do the Astros want to give up Myers 200 innings remains: why does a 65 win (at best) team need a closer at all? There simply aren’t that many games Myers will get to pitch to justify paying a guy $12 million for 20-odd worthwhile pitching appearances?
Indeed a head scratcher though the new brain trust in Houston deserves the benefit of some doubt. With all the tall foreheads now residing in Space City, they just might be on to something.