The big news out of South Philly today is that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that pitcher J.A. Happ will remain in the rotation for the rest of the season. Happ, who pitched his second complete-game shutout of the season last night against the Rockies, will be the 4th starter, behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Joe Blanton.
That does raise the question of the 5th spot in the rotation. Jamie Moyer currently holds the spot, but he's struggled this year, posting a 5.55 ERA (second highest in the NL among qualifying starters). Pedro Martinez pitched another rehab start at AA Reading last night and posted the following line: 6 !P, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BBs, 11 Ks. The team's position has always been that they signed Pedro as a starter, not as a reliever. Moyer's been a starter nearly his entire career, and I don't see him going to the pen. So what does the team do then? I don't see Moyer being traded. There's a chance that they might designate him for assignment or give him his outright release, but i think they'd rather just let him retire at the end of the season. At this point in the season, it'd be nice to keep him around in case of injury, if they need a spot-start due to rainouts, or they want to line up the rotation for the postseason as we get into the middle or end of September. In the meantime, Amaro says that the team might consider going with a 6-man rotation. While that could mean that the 4 postseason starters (Hamels, Lee, Blanton, and Happ) won't throw as many innings and could have better-rested arms for the playoffs, it could also backfire and cause them to lose a little bit of their edge. Blanton especially is one guy who you want to keep in the rhythm he has going.
Amaro is looking at a timeframe of a week to 10 days before they feel they have to make a move, so i guess we'll all find out then.