Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Myers moving to closer

Well, uh, ahem, I don't even

Okay, so the news out of Astros camp this morning is that Brett Myers is moving from the rotation to the closer spot.

I don't understand. Myers threw 216IP in 2011, tied for 17th-most in all of baseball, and now the Astros are going to cut his innings by 30-40% (I meant, "to," instead of "by") of that total. And with Lyon and Myers in the bullpen, that's $16m+ for the 8th-9th innings.

The idea was Jeff Luhnow's, says Alyson Footer:
Jeff Luhnow first approached Mills with the idea for Myers to close. Mills thought about it and agreed. Then they brought it to Myers.

Expanded quote from Luhnow:
"From my standpoint, we have some depth in the rotation between Duke, Livan, Happ, Sosa and Harrell and all the young guys. We feel like we're in pretty good shape there and have some choices. We felt like we were a little exposed in the bullpen, and having a guy who's been successful in that role and who's got the mentality and stuff to do well takes pressure of Brandon Lyon coming off an injury and doesn't put pressure on young kids like David Carpenter and Wilton Lopez."

Let's try to figure this out:

(1) The Astros have more rotation arms than they do bullpen arms. The majority of the arms the Astros have vying for spots are gunning for rotation spots, not necessarily a bullpen job. With Lyles, Livan Hernandez, Zach Duke, et al, the Astros needed someone reliable at the back end of the bullpen, and that apparently didn't include Brandon Lyon or David Carpenter. Your rotation is currently Wandy, Norris, Happ, and Lyles/Livan/Weiland/Sosa/Harrell/Duke. It simply opens up a spot for a *more effective* starter.

(2) Myers had better "stuff" as a reliever. Zachary Levine pointed out that FanGraphs had Myers' fastball velocity at 88.4mph in 2011, down from 92.1mph in 2007 when he came out of the bullpen.

(3) If there's one thing that's clear from this, it's that (as John Royal pointed out) the one GM in the world who thought Myers was worth $10m+ was Ed Wade. Financial breakdown of MLB's "Top 20" closers:

Mariano Rivera: $15m
Jonathan Papelbon: $11.0058m (not kidding)
Brett Myers: $11m
Jose Valverde: $9m
Brian Wilson: $8.5m
Carlos Marmol: $7m
Heath Bell: $6m
Leo Nunez*: $6m
Joakim Soria: $6m
Brandon League: $5m
J.J. Putz: $4.5m
Francisco Cordero: $4.5m
Chris Perez: $4.5m
Joel Hanrahan: $4.1m
Kyle Farnsworth: $3.3m
Sergio Santos: $1m
Neftali Feliz: $451K (pre-arb)
John Axford: $443K (pre-arb)
Craig Kimbrel: $419K (pre-arb)
Drew Storen: $418K (pre-arb)
Jordan Walden: $414K (pre-arb)

* - or whatever his name is

Yes, Brett Myers will be the 3rd-highest paid closer in all of baseball in 2012, after throwing 439.2IP over the last two seasons.


Anonymous said...

This was a big suprise this morning.... Even bigger that they changed his contract for next year. I don't know how they trade him now. Maybe there wasn't any market for him, so they went this way to get the younger guys more time in the rotation. Who knows... maybe it's a moneyball thing and their stats show him more successful as a closer. I'm sure this isn't the last of suprises the team will do.

Jared said...

At least they are trying new things. Everyone though Larussa was a nut when he batted his pitcher 8th, until the Cards kept winning for ten years.

Terence said...

I think I like this move. Myers pitched alot of innings last year, but he didn't provide much value. If his 220 starting innings go to Lyles and Sosa, we probably get more value from those innings and help develop younger pitchers. Furthermore, I see him pitching closer to 70 innings in the bullpen like the Braves pitchers did last year and we will probably get greater value from those innings than giving them to EDR, F-Rod, Abreau, or someone of that ilk.

The only reason this doesn't make much sense is because of his contract, and Luhnow didn't give him that contract. It looked like he did everything possible to get rid of it, and when he couldn't he made the best of a terrible situation.

Anonymous said...

What about trade value? Do you think this move has some forethought to it on that front? That he performed so well in 07 out of the pen, then if he can perform that well again, will it possibly up his trade value...or am I just crazy??(this is possible btw)

Anonymous said...

I liked how Luhnow came to Mills with the idea and Mills agreed. How surprising.

Seems like a completely senseless move to me, but no longer surprising from this group.