As the spring gets underway in Clearwater the Phillies are suffering from two potential problems as I see it. One, as a Phillie fan, I’ve never experienced before – too much starting pitching. The other is one the Phils and their fans are all too accustomed to – not much of a bullpen.
With off-season additions and little in the way of subtractions the Phillies are in a position where they have what could be six starters: Freddy Garcia should be number one, followed by Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jon Lieber, Jamie Moyer and finally Adam Eaton.
One potential solution to the problem would be to deal a starter for a reliever, but who do you deal? Freddy Garcia stays, so does Myers and the Phils should hold onto Cole Hamels like Grim death, once he gets his bearings this kid is going to be a perennial twenty game winner and all-star. So that leaves Lieber, Moyer or Eaton – Eaton would be a sufficient fifth man, but he won’t bring a top notch closer or set-up man on his own; Moyer is forty three years old, there aren’t a whole lot of teams that would be willing to take a chance on an arm with that many miles on it; Lieber has pitched well so far in the spring, but he came to training very overweight and won’t bring much in a trade based on his performance from ’06.
Maybe a better solution for the Phils brass – make Brett Myers your closer. The subject has already been broached and Myers seems open to it, he’s young and his arm recovers fast. A lot of fans would question why you would take your best starter from the previous season and send him back to the confines of the pen, my response – see John Smoltz. A good closer can mean the difference between making the playoffs and swinging a bat through October or not making the playoffs and swinging a golf club. When explained in those terms I can’t think of one fan that would rather have Tom Gordon close out every game than Brett Myers.