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The Astros have made Brett Myers their new closer

Feb 28, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Brett Myers

This is unexpected: the Houston Astros have moved Brett Myers out of the rotation and have made him their new closer. Announced it this morning.

This is not an unprecedented role for Myers. He was the Phillies closer for most of the 2007 season, moving back to the rotation after they picked up Brad Lidge.  As a closer he went 5-5 with 21 saves and a 2.87 ERA.  That season he struck out 10.9 batters per nine innings, so it seems that he was cool with pressing down on the accelerator in a new role.  Of course, overall his K-rate is way down now from where it was when he was a starter before the last conversion, so it would be tough to expect that kind of thing again. What a drag it is gettin’ old, you know.

The stated rationale here is that with Brandon Lyon trying to come back from shoulder surgery (good luck with that) and no other experienced hands on deck, Myers’ experience makes him the best option.  A secondary rationale, likely considered but not stated, is that if Myers can save a handful of games in the first half, Houston could flip him to a contender with a closer crisis.

I have no idea if it will work, but it’s just another example of the Jeff Luhnow and Brad Mills‘ creative thinking with the new-look Houston Astros.

  1. rollinghighwayblues - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    “A secondary rationale, likely considered but not stated, is that if Myers can save a handful of games in the first half, Houston could flip him to a contender with a closer crisis.”

    The question is, will Myers even have the opportunity to save a handful of games before the the break?

    • blabidibla - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Of course he will. Houston stands to win 50 or so games, and 45 of them will likely be close because they can’t score runs.

      • kopy - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I was on the same line of thinking. As opposed to a good team that might blow teams out frequently, virtually all of Houston’s wins will be save opportunities.

  2. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Alternate headline: The Astros are going to have another tough year

  3. deathmonkey41 - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    If I were Brett Myers wife and he blows a save, I would probably go stay somewhere else that night.

    • saints97 - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Yes. Brett Myers is a woman beater. Never forget.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        What does any of that have to do with baseball?

        It’s a sport, not a civics lesson.

  4. bkarbour - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I’m skeptical this will increase Myers’s trade value. He makes $10M a year. That’s a lot for a guy who’s going to pitch 20-30 innings for you. His monetary value as a starter is pretty much in line with his performance, and he has value there.

    If he shortens his workload in the first half of the year, can you trade for him and convert him back to a starter? Unlikely.

    • deathmonkey41 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      No, but I imagine if he does well and some competing needs a closer towards the deadline, they might take a flier on him. How many years does he have left on that contract?

      • stex52 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        Two, unless I have completely lost track of the years. He is not that expensive, at least in his (alternate) good years.

  5. scatterbrian - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Unconscionable! Reprehensible! Clear evidence that we live in a twisted world!

  6. humanexcrement - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Do the astros know that you have to be winning a game to use your closer? when you have one too many good starters, THEN you think about moving one to the bullpen. If you have a team like the ’12 Astros, for which it would take an absolute miracle to finish at .500, closer is the last thing you need to worry about.

  7. azpackerbacker - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Boom. Outta here

  8. stex52 - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I understand about half of the rationale. For one, I wouldn’t trust Brandon Lyon to put out a candle with a fire hose. Second, Myers is not part of the future plans and they want to try out young pitchers. Third, he had a poor year starting last year after a great 2010. But he is a proven innings eater; even when he is not great he can often stay in the game. And what is going to happen when those young arms get tired? They need the innings.

    It only makes sense to me if the Astros are, in fact, trying to flip him as a relatively fresh pitcher at mid-season.

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