It's official, the Phil's announced Wednesday that Jon Lieber will be pitching out of the bullpen. After a few months of the baseball world knowing that right-hander Jon Lieber was available for the taking and still no bites, the Phil's have made the ultimate decision that Lieber was the odd man out of the rotation and would be serving some time in the pen.
Lieber made his disappointment public almost immediately stating that he thinks he's still very capable of starting. It's no wonder that Lieber's a little upset, he's been a starter for his whole twelve year career. He's a former all star and even notched twenty wins with the Cubbies in 2001, and it's not like they're making him a closer.
Let's face it, middle relief is a big step down from his position last year as the Phil's number one starter. Lieber seems convinced that he won't spend the whole 2007 season in the pen, and he may not even be there at the beginning.
Phil's new "ace" Freddy Garcia is nursing a sore bicep as we speak. Garcia will likely be ready to go come the start of the regular season, but having Lieber right there waiting to jump back into the rotation, should the necessity arise, should put both the pitching and coaching staff at ease.
Lieber needs to view this as an opportunity, he's got to take the ball every game, if they need him and throw for all he's worth. Solid middle relief is hard to come by these days, if Lieber goes out and helps the Phil's hold on to slim leads and is able to jump into the rotation when someone goes down, he'll be viewed as much more valuable than his 9-11 record as a starter from last year shows.
There isn't even any guarantee that his arm will hold up to the everyday wear and tear of middle relief, so he should keep his attitude and chin up and his mouth closed and take the ball whenever Uncle Charlie wants to give it to him. Think about it Jon, the only thing this team is lacking is someone who can throw the ball in the seventh and eighth, become that guy and you'll be awfully popular in the city of Philadelphia.