Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Could/Should the Phillies get Happ Back?

J.A. Happ was terrific for the Phillies whenever they called upon him. He always seemed to be the tough luck last man out. He'd narrowly miss the roster out of camp despite pitching his tail off, or be banished to the bullpen after several tremendous starts. He's not a stud pitcher, probably never will be, but Happ was very good for the Fightins'. A big piece in the Roy Oswalt deal last year, Happ departed for Houston, once again being the tough luck man out of Philly.

Things haven't gone as smoothly for Happ with the Astros. After starting 2010 with the Phillies 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA, he declined but pitched solid in a Stros' uniform, going 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA.

This year, however, has been an entirely different story for Happ. He's 3-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts.

Why, you ask, would the Phillies want a 3-9 pitcher with a 5+ ERA?

Imagine pitching very well for a contending team, a team, that won a World Series and appeared in another while you were on the team, only to be traded to the Houston Astros, essentially guaranteeing an early finish to each season. That's not going to give many players much motivation.

Happ is still young, and could flourish once again with a change of scenery. The Phillies have much better coaching and personal than Houston, and with the injury issues of Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, the team could use some extra insurance. Happ's price tag is also unlikely to ever be lower than it is now.

Houston has little need for a struggling middle of the rotation pitcher. The Phillies, however, have seen the upside in Happ and could once again. Could be a good time for Ruben Amaro Jr. to reach out to our old "pal" Ed Wade.

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