Martinez to Rotation, Moyer to… Bradenton?

In a move that hasn’t surprised most Phillies fans, Pedro Martinez is slated to make his Phillies debut tonight against the Chicago Cubs. What may be shocking is the amount of influence Phillies’ general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had in the decision.

Amaro stated publicly last week that lefthander J.A. Happ will remain in the starting rotation. It is difficult to argue with Amaro, considering Happ has been the team’s most consistent starter this season, with an 8-2 record (6-2 as a starter) and a 2.74 ERA.

Martinez has been average in his rehab starts. He is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three starts since being signed by the Phillies, with 16 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. But 11 of those strikeouts came in the final rehab appearance over five innings for Double-A Reading.

46-year-old veteran Jamie Moyer, who is 10-9 with a 5.47 ERA in 123.1 innings this season, is the odd man out. And he is upset about the demotion to the bullpen. In his comments to MLB Insider Todd Zolecki, Moyer said,  “I feel a little disheartened. I feel a little bit like I’ve been misled. I feel like I’ve played this game long enough that the respect factor should be there. I’m really not happy with the decision that the Phillies have made.”

The situation leaves two lingering questions.

How effective will Moyer be out of the pen?
Moyer hasn’t pitched on a regular basis in a relief role since he was a (young) 33-year-old lad with the Red Sox in 1996, when he gathered 13 relief appearances. Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have not decided what specific role Moyer will have in the pen. Warmup time for the long-time starter will be one of the largest concerns, as will be whether or not his stuff will be conducive to a role such as lefty specialist.

Will Moyer accept a role in the bullpen for 2010?
It may be that the St. Joe”s alum’s career rests on the right arm of Martinez. If Pedro falters, Moyer could step back into the rotation and pick up (hopefully) where he left off in 2008. But if Martinez pitches well, it appears that Moyer might be headed for his winter home in Bradenton, Fl. to hang up his spikes for good. The fact that the mild-mannered lefty is outspoken about his disappointment might forecast the end of road for the 23-year-vet.’

There is still a long way to go for the Phillies this year, but the arrival of Pedro creates questions that extend beyond the next two months.

-Stephen Dolan ’12


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