Phillies Move Myers to Bullpen

by Michael Egnak on April 18, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT reports the Philadelphia Phillies are moving starting pitcher Brett Myers to the bullpen. Myers will set up closer Tom Gordon and close if Gordon needs a day off. Pitcher Jon Lieber will take Myers' spot in the rotation.

This is a sign that the ballclub is desperate to turn things around. Myers, their $25.5 million opening day starter, is headed to the bullpen as a setup man. Myers has posted an ERA under 4.00 in each of the past two seasons. Myers also strikes out 7.27 batters per nine innings and forces more groundballs, making him a valuable pitcher in a ballpark where fly balls tend to carry into the stands for home runs. Now they put in Lieber, who hasn't struck out more than 6.14 batters per nine innings since 1999. Lieber also has not posted an ERA under 4.00 since 2002.

The Phillies seem to believe, at least for the short term, that they're better off with Myers' arm in the bullpen. It's an area where the team has struggled not only this season, but for a number of years. This spring the team had been shopping Lieber to teams in need of a starter in an attempt to get a reliever in return. Instead, they'll move one of their top starters into a role where he'll pitch one or two innings at a time.

Fantasy owners that have Myers have to be frustrated. No matter the state of your pitching staff, you must hang on to him. There's always a chance Myers regains his spot in the rotation. In fact, it would seem likely unless Gordon goes down with an injury. If the Phillies continue to lose, manager Charlie Manuel could be fired; a new manager may look to restore order. Lieber is not an option for fantasy teams, but he could be a potential source of wins if he pitches effectively.

For fantasy owners now in need of a starter, it's early enough to find some quality on the waiver wire. Cincinnati Reds starter Kyle Lohse has been pitching fairly well. He is coming off an eight-inning shutout against the Chicago Cubs, where he struck out 12 batters while allowing one walk and four hits. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter Bartolo Colon (rotator cuff) is scheduled to come off the disabled list soon, and could be very valuable if he returns to his 2005 form. Some owners have been quick to grab Colon, though. Another possibility is Pittsburgh Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is 2-0 and has allowed only two runs while fanning 11 in 20 1/3 innings .

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About Michael Egnak

Michael Egnak is a Hot Off The Wire Analyst at KFFL and has been with the company since 2005. Covering both NFL and MLB, Egnak is also a key contributor to KFFL's fantasy services.

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