Aug 5, 2009, 1:35 PM EDT
Pedro Martinez is scheduled to make his third and perhaps final minor-league rehab start tonight at Double-A, but as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the Phillies haven’t revealed what they plan to do once he’s deemed ready to join the rotation.
Jamie Moyer turned in another rough outing last night and now has a 5.55 ERA through 21 starts, so bumping the 46-year-old southpaw would be the obvious move. Of course, manager Charlie Manuel is loyal to the veteran who won 16 games with a 3.71 ERA last season, Moyer makes $6.5 million this year with another $6.5 due in 2010, and Zolecki notes that he’s “not seen as a viable bullpen option.”
Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Joe Blanton obviously aren’t going anywhere, so if Moyer stays in the rotation and Martinez joins him that pushes J.A. Happ to the bullpen. As a 26-year-old rookie it’s not surprising that Happ is seen as the most flexible in terms of not making a stink about his role and he’s had past success as a reliever, but he’s also dramatically out-pitched Moyer by going 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts.
Prior to the Lee trade signing Martinez looked like a worthwhile move for the Phillies, but swapping Pedro for Happ while keeping Moyer and his bloated ERA in the rotation hardly looks like an upgrade. Martinez has incentives in his contract based on relief work, but the Phillies are clearly prepping him to start and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that he’s not a bullpen option.
The good news for the Phillies is their five-game lead in a division that doesn’t really look capable of challenging them much down the stretch, so regardless of who fills the last two rotation spots they’re likely playoff bound. Once there Hamels, Lee, and Blanton will be the workhorses anyway as the need for a five-man rotation disappears, so maybe prepping Happ for a postseason bullpen role has some upside too.