Improving The Phils: Step 4 - Know Your Role

A quick look at the Phillies pitching staff and it's easy to see that there are at least two pitchers who are out of their element. Two guys who have enjoyed some measure of success in the past, but are scuffling in their current roles.

It was a good idea to give Ryan Madson a shot at starting. After all, he pitched as a starter while he was coming through the Phillies' system and he wanted to return to the role. Plus, Madson pitched well as a starter in spring training, so a starting job was well deserved. After 15 starts though, his inconsistency seems to show that he's not going to be a major league starter, unless a team is willing to be very patient with him. The numbers just aren't there, especially when you consider the strong numbers that he put up as a reliever.

Then, there's Ryan Franklin. He was bumped to the bullpen by the impressive springs of Madson and Gavin Floyd and accepted the role, although hinted that he was a little uneasy with it all. Still, he was simply outpitched and a move to the bullpen had always been a possibility since he signed a one-year deal with the Phillies, so the move wasn't unheard of or a complete surprise. Again, his inconsistency has made it impossible to stick with him in the bullpen - just ask the dented trash can that he took his frustrations out on at Petco Park Monday night - and something has to be done.

Since it's the season for trades, how about a trade within the team. Trade Franklin's spot for Madson's. It's very simple really. Madson can resume his setup role which has been dropped badly by Arthur Rhodes and Franklin can resume his role that he has always felt more comfortable with. Sure, it's going to take a while for Franklin to get stretched out, but hey, it's not like Madson is pitching very deep into games, so there's not a big difference there.

A potential upside to all of this is that if Franklin can show that he's ready to pitch as a starter and can put together a couple of decent starts, he might be a piece of a package in a trade deal. If the Phillies were so inclined, they might also like to have Madson show his value as a setup man that could be sent elsewhere, although his value to the Phillies bullpen would probably be higher than what they might get in exchange.

Madson had his shot and Franklin did his time in the bullpen. Simply swapping the two makes a lot of sense and could go a long way toward Improving The Phillies.

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