Astros Name Myers Closer; Rework Vesting Option

The Astros named Brett Myers their closer, manager Brad Mills told reporters this morning.  According to Alyson Footer, GM Jeff Luhnow brought the idea to Mills, who liked it and approached Myers.  Myers' $10MM vesting option for 2013 was reworked to reflect the role change, tweets Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.

Luhnow traded incumbent closer Mark Melancon to the Red Sox in December, and Myers makes for a viable replacement.  Myers spent time in the role with the '07 Phillies, but he told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, "I wouldn't accept it if I didn't think I could do it, but it's going to be a challenge for me because it's something different.  It's like a position change for me. It's like taking a first baseman and moving him to third. I'm going to have to work a little harder to get my arm in shape to throw 20 or 25 pitches a night. Hopefully, it will be good for the team and good for the organization."  

Luhnow explained the move, saying, "We feel like we’re in pretty good shape [in the rotation] 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."  I feel that while the Astros have a number of options for their last two rotation spots, this move still weakens the team overall.

The decision probably isn't all that great for Myers' trade value, as he'd been able to toss 439 2/3 innings over the past two seasons.  He's owed $11MM this year, and if the '13 option doesn't vest it will come with a $3MM buyout. 

As we gear up for fantasy baseball season, be sure to follow our @closernews account on Twitter.  Over 9,200 followers are already on board, getting instant news on the 30 closer situations to ensure dominance in the saves category.  You can also check out our closer depth chart at RotoAuthority.


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43 Comments on "Astros Name Myers Closer; Rework Vesting Option"


RBIBaseball
3 years 5 months ago

I don’t get this at all.

rayking
3 years 5 months ago

I thought Wilton Lopez was going to be their closer. This move blows my mind because they’re a rebuilding team, and highly unlikely that they contend this season. Not very critical to have a proven pitcher be your closer when you will rarely have a lead going into the 9th anyway.

omavricko
3 years 5 months ago

He is gonna be stoked with his 10 save opportunities

dc21892
3 years 4 months ago

It makes sense because if he does well and a contending team down the stretch needs a closer, he can be flipped for prospects. His chances of breaking down as a starter are greater than a RP.

mitch
3 years 5 months ago

I don’t get this move: more trade value as a starter, gives you more innings as a starter and while he was decent as a closer it seems like he would simple be overall a more useful part of the team as a starter. It just feels like they’re intionally making their team weaker. I don’t see why he isn’t coming to ST working as a starter then slid him to the ‘pen if he gets out pitched by the kids or you have more of a need there? Tanking in for a better draft pick already?

BrickTops
3 years 5 months ago

My guess is that they are trying to open space in the rotation for Zach Duke and Livian Hernandez with the idea that they can rebuild value and bring in prospects mid season. 

mitch
3 years 5 months ago

there a certain logic to that but why not do it with Myers? How in the world could they possibly need an 11mil closer?  There are plenty of relievers that have taken or will take a minor league deals that you could sign instead then just see what sticks. Myers has more trade value as a starter now than either Duke or Hernandez and that’s pretty much gone into negative value.

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

The difference is, if Livan and/or Duke have decent first halves then they will be much more desirable then Myers because they are on minuscule contracts. 11m or even 5.5m (Half season+ Vesting Option) is alot for Myers  (Along with Prospects).  Comparatively speaking, Livan and Duke are basically pitching for free.
 

mitch
3 years 4 months ago

that’s fine if your trade partner is another last place team. but let me ask you which would you rather have as your 5th starter in a race Duke, Hernandez, or Myers?

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

Depends on who has the better first half. It seems this offseason, anyone not named the Marlins, Nationals, or Rangers is being tight with spending.  The Yanks and Sox are even working on a budget.  Duke and Hernandez are not far Removed from solid seasons

mitch
3 years 4 months ago

I’m not saying that niether of them is capable of having a fine season I ‘m just saying that of the 3 Myers in my opinion has the best chance of having a good season.

stl_cards16
3 years 4 months ago

” It seems this offseason, anyone not named the Marlins, Nationals, or Rangers is being tight with spending.”

The Angels and Tigers say hello…….

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

Lol true

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

Lol true

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

Just a quick question.. Is Weiand projected to be 1 of the 5 guys in the rotation. The guy they got in the Melencon deal?

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

I would not be surprised to see him at some point this season. No Astro is a lock for the rotation Past Wandy and Norris.  If I had to guess it is going to be:

Wandy Rodriquez
Bud Norris
J Happ
Livian Hernandez
Zach Duke

But I can just as easily see Wandy, Livian, and Duke gone midseason which would open all sorts of space for the likes of Jordan Lyles, Weiland, and Sosa.

Or Livian and Duke could suck and get cut lol.

3 years 4 months ago

 I wouldn’t he’s projected, but he’s one of the contenders.  Excluding Myers, they’ve got about six contenders for the final two rotation spots.

bigpat
3 years 4 months ago

This is really weird but I actually think Myers could have as much if not more trade value if viewed as a closer around the league. We all know relievers are traded left and right at the deadline, and Myers was a good closer before, so they probably figure someone will want a veteran like him for the stretch run. If the Phillies ever need help in the pen, I’m sure Houston would foot plenty of the bill for him to pitch there.

I see what they’re trying to do, just not sure if it will work. I’d rather them trade Wandy and keep Myers in the rotation to eat innings but Duke and Livo can eat innings I suppose if they dont care about winning. 

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

They care about the Farm right now.  Period. 

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t understand. He should have more value as a number three guy than a closer. Unless a closer gets hurt, he’s probably a middle man for most teams anyway.

I agree that the focus is on the farm, but how does this change relate to that?

3 years 4 months ago

The decision probably isn’t all that great for Myers’ trade value, well maybe Brett Myers wants to retire an Astro. Plus, Myers might do a good job as a closer, he still has decent stuff. He’ll be expensive, but he will do a good job. The thing I remember most about the Astros 2011 season was the awful job that Brandon Lyon did on opening day against the Phillies. It set the tone for the entire season. If Myers does the kind of job I think he’s capable of that kind of debacle won’t happen or at least not so early in the season. As the Astros will get their sea legs and gain confidence as the season goes on. The will need that burgeoning confidence in 2013, when they charge triumphantly into the AL West! :p
PS I guarantee that Myers will do a better job at closer than Marmol will for the Cubs.

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

As a person who is critical of all teams that pay for saves, this hurts. Not only are we paying a lot for saves, but we are a terrible team while we are doing it. The $/save is off the charts for us. I really hate this, even if he is a good closer.

Texan_BnR
3 years 4 months ago

The whole paying for saves idea doesnt apply here, Myers was already under contract regardless of where he pitches. I would agree with you if the Astros had signed him to that type of contract this offseason and made him a closer. But we arent spending anymore money than we already planned on so that argument is mute.
The move is surprising but is not a bad move at all. As a reliever Myers had a better ERA and K rate, and anything that takes innings away from Brandon Lyon is a great thing! Wilton Lopez is the only person in the Astros CURRENT bullpen that has closing stuff but he will still get his opportunities regardless of who is closing.
The only question here is how does this affect Myers’ trade value and there is an argument to be made both ways.  Yes if Myers had a good 1st half as a starter he could have brought 2 mid level prospects, and if he has a good 1st half in the bullpen its probably more like a mid level guy and a lower level high risk/reward PTBN type player. But I think part of the thinking is that it is much easier to trade a bullpen guy compared to it being harder to trade a starter. Also do not forget that as it stands now, guys like Roy Oswalt will be available mid season and he will be cheaper and wont cost prospects for a contender.
I like the move, I understand the move, and really its all about the trade value and opening up another rotation spot for a younger guy, because regardless the Astros arent going to compete this year.

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

Well, obviously it’s not much more than a superficial comment on my part, but it still signifies that we are paying him too much. 
  
And the idea that moving him to the bullpen is kind of an odd idea to me.  If he has a good season he is a valuable trading chip as a starter.  If he struggles, he is going to be worth much either way.  As a closer, his contract looks even worse.  No one will want to pay that much for a mediocre closer.   A decent starter, on the other hand would be easier to move at that price. 
  
Also, it’s “moot.”

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t like this. If he has a good year, he is more valuable as starter. Wouldn’t he bring in a better trade as a third starter than a relief pitcher?

Maybe there is something that I’m missing.

stroh
3 years 4 months ago

I think this is a great move.   The Astros starting rotation will look like this:

1. Wandy Rodriguez (3.49 ERA and an ERA of 3.60 or less each of last 5 years)
2. Bud Norris (3.77 ERA and around 175 strikeouts last year — he is only in his 3rd year, and is getting better)
3. J.A. Happ (did not pitch well for 3/4 of the season but got it together the last 1/4 of the year.   He does have the stuff to be a number 3.)
4. Livan Hernandez (innings eater)
5. Jordan Lyles, Zach Duke, Kyle Weiland, Lucas Harrell, Henry Sosa or Aneury Rodriguez (open competiton).     Lyles has the most upside as a top of the rotation guy (coming into last year he was one of Baseball America’s top 50 prospects), but he is also only 20 years old.   Duke can start or go long relief.   The others are all in the 23-24 year age group and are seen as 4th/5th starters.

What this does is give the Astros an experienced closer in Myers, who has been successful in the role.   And still leaves some depth in the bullpen with Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez and David Carpenter.    Lyon had a great 2010 but got hurt last year (Astros lost 20+ games in 8th/9th inning) whereas Lopez and Carpenter are still young pitchers who pitched well last year (ERAs below 3.00).

JacksTigers
3 years 4 months ago

You’re sugar coating the team a little.

BrickTops
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think he is.  The rotation is decent.  I am not saying they are the Phillies, but the starting rotation is fairly good shape.  The offense and bullpen are what are severely lacking.  

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

I wouldn’t call it decent…. I’d say it’s about as good as we can do this year, though.
 
Also, I’m not sure if Lyles is really a top of the rotation guy (responding to the other guy here).

stroh
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think so.  Check the facts.   The Astros won 56 last year (as opposed to about 76 the year before) primarily because of the bullpen.  The starting lineup with or without Pence and Bourn had about the same productivity between 2010 and 2011, and the starting pitching was about the same.   What really hurt them was the bullpen which recorded over 20 blown saves.

Lastings
3 years 4 months ago

I love how manager Brad Mills is direct-linked to the Angels pitcher Brad Mills…

3 years 4 months ago

I actually like the move. The Astros led mlb in blown saves year I believe and is a huge reason why their record was incredibly terrible. Lyons is terrible closer. The other guys haven’t closed. They will still be terrible even if Myers is a GREAT closer, but perhaps they could avoid losing more than anyone else in the league.

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think that there is any avoiding a top five draft pick in 2013.  I would rather see us develop a young closer who we can trade, rather than turn Myers into a closer.  Blown saves are the last thing that we should be worried about, in my opinion.

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

“I don’t think that there is any avoiding a top five draft pick in 2013″

Hope that they take advantage of the… What was it?? 11m they are allotted in 2012 to spend in the Rule 4 draft without being penalized.

Going from memory.. Didn’t they spend less than 5m in 2011 and also had a top 5 pick. Houston HAS to take advantage of the opportunities. They knew the cap was coming before and blew that one when they could have spent, but for 2012 at least, they still have a chance to go well above average and snag a couple at least superb players it would seem with the $$$ allowed them.

Houston_Astros
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t remember, to be honest, but I could see that. The new FO has talked about Soler, so I’m betting that they will be willing to spend a little on the farm.

3 years 4 months ago

 “Didn’t they spend less than 5m in 2011 and also had a top 5 pick.”

No on the second part of that.  They didn’t even have a top 10 pick.  They picked 11th.  It’s possible you were thinking they picked in the top 5 because George Springer was originally projected to be a top 5 pick.

hgr900
3 years 4 months ago

he may have 6 save ops this year with this team

stl_cards16
3 years 4 months ago

I love Lunhow for his drafting and scouting, but his ideas are a little crazy.  Lunhow wanted to bat Pujols leadoff in St. Louis.  No joke.  So I’m guessing this move is 100% Lunhow.

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

Don’t take this wrong.. but is it really that much worse than a certain manager who would always bat a pitcher 8th, rather than 9th.. Regardless of how awful at the plate they were?

Another point of power hitters with no speed hitting leadoff.. Boston for a LONG time hit Dwight Evans leadoff.. Johny mac’s reasoning? he liked to start the game up 1-0….

stl_cards16
3 years 4 months ago

The goal of batting the pitcher 8th was to have more guys on for the middle of the order.  I’m not saying I agree with it but there are at least parts of it that I can see making sense.  I cannot make any sense of batting one of the best power hitters in the game leadoff.

Edit: Basically the pitcher hitting 8th was TLR’s way of batting Pujols 4th, but still getting him the extra AB’s of him hitting 3rd. I know a lot of people don’t think it makes sense, but there’s something to it.

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

“I cannot make any sense of batting one of the best power hitters in the game leadoff.”

I couldn’t either.. Even when boston had almost no speed.. They would hit Evans leadoff and he was SLOW.. Sure, he got on base to a .380-.400 clip and had power, but?? he was a base clogger leading off.

The pitcher hitting 8th also meant that HE came up faster to tho. LOL That was what always got me and was hard to understand.

stl_cards16
3 years 4 months ago

Thanks Disqus….This was in reply to johnsilver

Batting the pitcher 8th does make the pitcher come up sooner but by the time you’re late in the game and factoring in how many extra AB’s one spot higher in the order gets, the pitcher will be out of the game anyway and you will be using pinch hitters.  If the pitcher is still in the game, he’s probably pitching well enough it doesn’t matter.

Like I said, I’m not a huge believer in hitting the pitcher 8th but I don’t think it’s something that makes the team worse either.  I will miss TLR.  Trying to predict what the line-up was going to be every night was half the fun!

Scotty Ray
3 years 4 months ago

“It’s like taking a first baseman and moving him to third.”

Yeah, more like the other way around. You can’t play third so they move you to first. You can’t hack it as a starter so they move you to the pen. Don’t flatter yourself, Brett.