HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 28: Pitcher Brett Myers #39 of the Houston Astros throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Minute Maid Park on September 28, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros have named Brett Myers -- one of their starters over the past two years -- the team's new closer, according to Zach Levine of the Houston Chronicle. Alyson Footer notes that GM Jeff Luhnow had the idea to move Myers, a longtime starter, to the bullpen, and manager Brad Mills agreed that it was a good idea.
Myers previously spent a short stint as the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, but the move is somewhat curious given that he provides so much of his value through durability. Over the past two years, Myers has pitched a total of 439 innings, when most teams rarely have more than one pitcher go for more than 200 innings in a given season. Some have speculated that the move could improve his trade value by midseason if he emerges as a quality option, but he's also making $10 million this year and ultimately his value might be lessened by the move.
ESPN is reporting that Livan Hernandez and Zach Duke will be competing for the No. 5 spot in Houston's rotation, which would arguably be the most questionable part of this entire situation. The current Houston rotation projects to include Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ, with Hernandez, Duke, Jordan Lyles, Kyle Wieland, Aneury Rodriguez and others competing for the final two spots.
"Jeff Luhnow first approached Mills with the idea for Myers to close. Mills thought about it and agreed. Then they brought it to Myers."
Twitter / @zacharylevine: Brett Myers' vesting optio ...
"Brett Myers' vesting option reworked so it's not based on starts; a good healthy season out of the pen gets him there."
In a stunning move, starter Brett Myers named Astros closer - Zachary Levine
"Myers is set to earn $11 million this year, the final guaranteed year of a contract extension signed in August 2010. He had an $10 million club option (with a $3 million buyout) that could vest contingent on the number of starts, but that has since been reworked so that he can reach it in a healthy year as a reliever."
Astros move Myers to closer - Brian McTaggart
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said, "We feel like we’re in pretty good shape there and have some choices. We felt like 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."
Houston Astros Name Brett Myers Closer For 2012 - The Crawfish Boxes
So much for not having a closer on a rebuilding team and possibly trying something new, like a closer by committee. This most likely means Livan Hernandez will get a spot in the rotation.
Brett Myers To Become Astros Closer - Baseball Nation
Myers has experience in closing; he saved 21 games for the 2007 Phillies after previous closer Tom Gordon went down with an injury. If he does well in the role, it's possible that some closer-less team might be willing to deal for him at the trading deadline.
Houston Astros Complete Organizational Chart - MLB Daily Dish
A complete, live chart of the Astros organization -- leadership, rosters, salaries, arbitration and options, as well as prospect rankings.