With the news of Roy Halladay likely being placed on the DL this week, and John Lannan still recovering from his injury, the Phillies suddenly find themselves in need of a fifth starter. Barring a trade or waiver pick up, there are 4 or 5 options internally that will garner consideration. The only silver lining here is that based on the Phillies upcoming schedule (they have two off days next week, on the 13th and 16th) they only NEED a fifth starter once (on Friday) between now and May 21st. That bit of luck will certainly play into the decision a little bit.
Currently sporting a 1-3 record in 6 starts at Lehigh Valley, Cloyd has posted 12 BB to 32Ks in 35 IP this season. He started six games for the big club last year, and put up a similar line, with 30Ks to 7 BB in 30 innings pitched. He's the safe choice, the choice with the most experience, and he's on the 40 man roster. He's scheduled to start for the Piggies on Wednesday. Cloyd could push back to Friday, or the team could simply call him up to pitch on Wednesday, and push Pettibone back two days.
CATZ ODDS: 2-1
The centerpiece of the Shane Victorino deal last year, Martin has struggled so far this season, posting a 7.63 ERA with 20 BB to 23Ks in 22 innings over 5 starts. He's surrendered 19 earned runs and hasnt pitched into the 6th inning yet. Aside from being on the 40 man roster, while Martin has much more upside than Cloyd, a call up wouldn't make much sense right now.
CATZ ODDS: 15-1
The Phillies 3rd round pick out of Alabama in 2011, Morgan has skyrocketed up the organization depth charts. After posting a 5/1 K/BB ratio and 10.2 K/9 at Clearwater in 21 starts, he was promoted to Reading where he held his own last year. On the season at Lehigh, he came out of the gate strong in his first two starts but has cooled off considerably recently. While Morgan, scheduled to start for Lehigh Friday, could seamlessly slot into Halladays spot, and may be the sexy choice right now among fans, he hasn't been pitching to the level you'd like to see recently for this to be a no brainer call. In addition, because he isn't on the 40 man roster (even though there's an extra spot), coupled with the idea that this may be just a spot start situation, giving Morgan the call costs the team service time, a roster spot and money that likely delays his big league debut this time around.
CATZ ODDS: 5-1
Lannan is technically eligible to come off the DL now. He hasn't pitched since mid April, and has yet to start a rehab assignment. Unlikely.
CATZ ODDS: 50-1
Here's where it gets interesting. BECAUSE of the way the schedule shakes out, combined with the west coast road trip, the Phillies could opt to call up a bullpen arm like Joe Savery, or Justin DeFratus, and just let Valdez, Horst and Durbin handle the game Friday. If they made that decision, they would not need to call up another starter until May 21st, at which point Lannan, or even Halladay, if the news is not as bad as we are all assuming, could feasibly be ready to go.
CATZ ODDS: 3-2
Barring another issue, Hamels, Kendrick, Lee and Pettibone can go three times through on regular or extended rest if one of these options only starts once. If you use logic here:
1. Martin and Morgan don't make sense NOW. With Martin, he just hasn't been sharp, and with Morgan, the variables outweigh the needs here. The team is better served letting both of them get three more starts at Lehigh before considering what to do. If three weeks from now, Lannan still isn't ready, and Halladay can't go, then you can think about one of these guys at that time.
2. Cloyd is the logical choice, however when you look at the Diamondbacks roster, and see 5 LH bats, including Jason Kubel, Miguel Montero, and a super hot Didi Gregorius, the idea of Cloyd serving up taters in Arizona gets a little suspect. A bullpen game with Valdez, Horst, Savery, et al... may actually be the better option.
In any case, none of the choices is Roy Halladay, and unfortunately all of them are better options than the Roy we've seen recently. I wouldn't expect whoever gets the call to be around for more than one start unless it's a reliever.
The next three weeks are going to go a long way in determining where this season is really headed. And at the end of the day, the team needs to hit.
If its my call, I go with the bullpen for one start, but I'd expect to see Tyler Cloyd make his 2013 big league debut this week. What do you think, good readers, and do you even care?