The most interesting event tonight came in Charlie Manuel's office after the game, when he went further than ever about the idea of shifting J.A. Happ to a key bullpen role.
“I like Happ as a starter, always have,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, also seeing the way out pitching looks, there would be a chance that he could wind up in the back end of our bullpen if things…if we don’t get some things straightened out, and if Romero don’t come back. I’m not saying we’re going to do that, but we’re going to talk about it if we don’t have no lefty.”
Asked if he could see Happ as a closer, Manuel said: “Yeah, probably,” though he implied he would be more likely to use Happ in a role like Romero’s last year, assigned to retire both lefties and righties in the late innings.
What does Happ think? His strong preference is to be a starter, and tonight he did not want to think about the issue after an encouraging win. “It’s too early for me to think about (going to the bullpen)," he said. "I’m really just trying to get back into the routine of doing my job.”
If temporarily reassigned, this would be much different than other threats to Happ's job security this year. Manuel, desperate to avoid a season spoiled by the bullpen, spoke glowingly of Happ and would trust him in big spots in the playoffs.
What do you think? Is he too effective as a starter, or would he be most helpful this year in the bullpen?