Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What The F*&%?

The Phillies have apparently decided to move Brett Myers, the guy who has been their best starting pitcher for the past two seasons, into the bullpen. Myers has struggled this year (as I know all too well, since he's on my team), and he is undoubtedly a shitheel of the worst order. However, this is a panic move driven by the Phillies' lousy start, and can be best summarized as some ridiculous bullshit.

As a poster at SoSH with the handle of "SoxScout" pointed out, Myers' xFIP so far this year is all of 3.80. (xFIP is a stat designed to show a pitcher's "true" ERA, once the effects of park, league, luck on balls in play, and defense are all accounted for.) That compares nicely with Myers' full year xFIPs from 2005 (3.49) and 2006 (3.89).

The Phillies rotation is made up of a bunch of guys who aspire to be league-average innings munchers (Freddy Garcia, Adam Eaton, Jamie Moyer, and now Jon Lieber), one guy who has the potential to be great (Cole Hamels), and one guy that has proven he can be an All-Star level starter (Myers). They have chosen to put the All-Star in the bullpen where he will apparently set up for Tom Gordon. The best-case scenario remaining here is that the team uses him as a Bill James-style fireman. but given Philly's bullpen woes over the years, it's tough to be too optimistic that they'll figure that out.

The fantasy lesson from all this is simple: we are betting on events beyond our control, and there's more luck involved than we sometimes like to admit. Injuries or front office shenanigans can mess with any roster. The best you can do is to try to build in some depth. And make sure there's plenty of beer in the fridge.

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