From the start of the offseason it was clear that the Houston Astros franchise would be revamped heading into Opening Day 2012. Changes occurred from the top down, and it appears those changes will continue this spring. Houston announced yesterday that it is removing right-hander Brett Myers from its starting rotation in favor of him becoming the Astros closer in 2012.
According to Alyson Footer, Houston’s general manager Jeff Luhnow was the one who came up with the idea. Luhnow then approached Astros manager Brad Mills, and once he agreed, the pair presented the plan to Myers.
The one thing that could have complicated the situation, as it usually does, was the money involved. Myers had a $10 million 2013 option that would have vested assuming he would have made so many starts. Closers don’t tend to start many games, so in order to continue this incentive the contract was re-worked. Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reported that, as long Myers has a “good healthy season out of the ‘pen”, his 2013 option will vest.
Myers has only pitched primarily out of the bullpen once in his career, during the 2007 season for the Philadelphia Phillies. That year Myers finished 37 games and compiled 21 saves, posting an ERA and WHIP of 2.87 and 1.200 over his 53 1/3 innings out of the ‘pen.
Luhnow later came out and explained the move in detail. The GM noted that he sees the move as a way to take pressure off of former Astros closer Brandon Lyon, who’s recovering from injury, and Houston’s young relievers. Also, Luhnow is happy with the starting pitching depth the Astros have and feels that the club is “in pretty good shape there”.
Beyond their projected starting three of Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ, the Astros have a plethora of options for their final two rotation spots including Zach Duke, Livan Hernandez, Jordan Lyles, Lucas Harrell, Henry Sosa and Kyle Weiland.
While this may be a case of using an excess to plug a weak area, the move is certain to impact Myers’ trade value. The right-hander has been solid over the past two seasons as a starter in Houston. Since joining the Astros, Myers has managed an ERA and WHIP of 3.79 and 1.276 over his 66 starts and 439 2/3 innings pitched.
What do you think of the move? Does this make the Astros that much stronger in 2012 that it’s worth potentially hurting Myers’ trade value going forward?
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