From our beloved Roch:
The word Roch was looking for was "devolve."
Starting pitchers do not "evolve" into closers. Pitching an inning is not as valuable as pitching seven. It is not a step up, no matter how good you are at closing. It is, at best, a functional side-step that prolongs your worth at the major league level.
But I also found this interesting:
Say what now? In a newer Roch blog entry, Andy MacPhail gave his reasons:
MacPhail left out the part about Costanzo committing 25 errors at third base with Single-A Clearwater in 2006, and 34 at Double-A Reading in 2007.
Credit Costanzo for buying into the theory that he'll reach the majors more quickly if he can play another position, and catcher could be the winning ticket.
It's not like he'll back up Ramon Hernandez this season, but his value will increase if he can move behind the plate in emergency situations, giving the team the luxury of having a third catcher. And if he gets a real handle on it, you might be looking at a power-hitting backup to Matt Wieters in a few years.
Costanzo told MacPhail that he's caught a few pitchers in the bullpen, so the position isn't completely new to him, but he's never done anything like this.
I'd credit Costanzo more if this wasn't probably a stupid career move that will cast him into purgatory as a player who can't field any position but can hit a little bit. But possibly becoming the next Mike Lamb ain't the worst thing in the world. If Costanzo does stick as a catcher, even a backup, he'll have done a reverse Brandon Inge.
Costanzo, if you're wondering, hit .270/.368/.490 at Reading last season, with 27 homers. He kind of looks like a duplicate Scott Moore to me -- they both bat left-handed, play 3B/1B, and could almost certainly fill Melvin Mora's shoes in 2008 for a fraction of the price and none of the bitching about legendary playoff performance. They're even the same damn age. Moore turns 25 in November, Costanzo in September.
Also notable: Costanzo had a 2.13 ERA at Coastal Carolina in 2005, going 8-1 in 37 bullpen appearances with 14 saves. He struck out 69 batters in 55 innings. Can he try out for bullpen work, too? Now that would be fun -- a relief pitcher/corner infielder/catcher who can hit home runs.