Already a situation that might prompt Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell to declare a state of emergency, the Phillies suffered a devastating blow today with the news that Brett Myers will likely miss the next three to four months with a hip injury.
Statistically, Myers has been the Phillies' best starting pitcher this season.
Myers’ hip injury will likely require surgery, though the right-hander says he will try to find a way to pitch through it.
Not a surprise considering this is a contract year for Myers.
But the way people in the organization are talking, that sounds like a pipe dream.
So with Myers done for basically the entire season, there’s one question every Phillies fan wants to know: Who takes his place in the rotation?
The options are endless.
According to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., the team will look internally first.
In an article on Phillies.com, Amaro mentioned the following four names: right-handers Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and Andrew Carpenter, and southpaw Antonio Bastardo.
One name that was notably absent—Chan Ho Park.
It looks as though Park’s days as a starter are done.
Kendrick and Carpenter both have major league experience.
However, it doesn’t appear that Kendrick has worked out the kinks that plagued him in 2008, and despite Carpenter winning his lone start with the big club, it wasn’t the prettiest game and was meant to be a one-time gig.
The other two names are the Phillies' top two pitching prospects (with 2008 draft pick Jason Knapp the likely No. 3).
Carrasco, thought by experts over the past two years to be the Phillies' top overall prospect, may not even be their top pitching prospect anymore.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan has been awful at AAA Lehigh Valley, posting a 5.81 ERA over nine starts with an 0-6 record.
Bastardo, though, has picked up where he left off last season and been nothing short of excellent.
A 23-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Bastardo was recently promoted to AAA, where he’s 1-0 over two starts with a 2.08 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 13 innings, having walked just three over that same span.
But Amaro's decision on Bastardo and Carpenter may depend on whether or not he sees another deal coming to fruition.
According to Jayson Stark (via Tim Dierkes), the Phillies have asked about every pitcher that could conceivably become available, from the highly unlikely Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, and Roy Halladay to the more possible Erik Bedard, Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Brad Penny, Chris Young, and Jason Marquis.
However, this was going on before the Myers injury, which clearly must be handled first. It’s possible Amaro is looking to replace another member of the rotation.
From that list, there isn’t much attractive.
Peavy has no interest in the East Coast (not to mention Citizens Bank Park), and Oswalt, Webb, and Halladay likely are staying put.
Bedard will cost as much as the big four but with lesser ability and questions about his makeup.
Same goes for Lee without the makeup question.
Young’s best days are likely behind him, and Marquis really has never been anything special.
Penny is the most available and likely won’t be too expensive.
The problem is that he’d likely cost an “untouchable”—Lou Marson, Jason Donald, or Dominic Brown.
The Red Sox have no need for pitching and have been rumored to be shopping some of their younger pitching for another bat.
It will be interesting to see how Amaro handles the rotation over the next few weeks.
We’ll definitely see a young arm coming up from the minors, but how long he stays and who else joins the rotation will be something worth keeping your eye on.
This article, along with the rest of my articles in 2009, are dedicated to the memory of my good friend and Philadelphia Phan, Craig Anderson, who passed away on Feb. 3, 2009 from complications due to cancer. To donate to a great cause, visit www.cancer.org.