Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 5/9/12
After about a week of spring training it was determined that Brandon Lyon was not ready to reclaim the closer's role for the Houston Astros. He had come off arm surgery and was not at full strength. It might take at least a month or more of the regular season before he could be counted on to shut down games. So general manager Jeff Luhnow, manager Brad Mills, pitching coach Doug Brocail and others considered asking Brett Myers to move from the starting rotation to the back end of the bullpen. He had done it before with the Phillies in 2007. In 51 games he was successful in saving 21 in 24 chances. He wasn't a real shut down guy with 27 walks and 61 hits allowed in 68 and two thirds innings pitched, but he was what the Phillies needed at the time. Before and after that one season Myers was always a starter. In his two previous seasons with the Astros he had started 33 and 34 games. He had thrown just under 440 innings. He also was on the bubble as a highly paid veteran who might have a salary the young and building Astros might want to trade away at some point during the year. Would his moving to the pen work? Would it lower his value on the trade market? Would Myers even agree with the idea? The answers to all three of the above questions were positive. After the reasoning was explained to Myersthat Lyon would not be ready, the Astros needed a closer and he had once been one and they the club felt he could do it, Myers agreed. Myers has been perfect in the role. On a team still running a couple games under .500 with 14 wins, Myers has closed out and saved eight of them. He has not blown a save or really even come close. His command and control of multiple pitches makes him a different closer. Most are hard throwers who may at times have problems finding the strike zone. Astro fans remember Billy Wagner, Brad Lidge and Jose Vizcaino. They could blow away the opposition or stuggle before getting the job done. Myers wastes little time. He throws a 92 mph fastballand a very good curve along with a change. He throws them all for strikes. He has been every bit as deadly in the 9th inning as any "blow 'em away" guy. What's more Myers has been a leader among the mostly young pitchers in the Astro pen. Fernando Rodriguez says that both Lyon, who now looks fully recovered, and Myers have taken the younger guys under their wings and have helped them learn the proper mindset for entering a game. Myers is a teacher and closer. Myers may be doing too well to stick around in Houston all season. Since the Astros are not likely a contender this season and in a building mode, that may not be a bad thing. The better he pitches the more value he builds on the trade market. Experienced as a starter, but now one of the most effective closers in the game it is not hard to imagine some pennant bound clubs will have Jeff Luhnow's number on speed dial. Jeff will be able to pick the very best option if he is faced with multiple offers for the veteran right hander. And if Myers departs there is no reason to fret about this season. It appears Brandon Lyon's arm is fully healed based on his last three outings. The closer role would still be filled by a vet and the Astros system may be able to add some more young talent at the same time.
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