Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Brett Myers lands in HoustonPosted by Evan Brunell
So far this year, the Astros have committed $24.6 million to the likes of Brandon Lyon, Pedro Feliz and now Brett Myers.
In other words, the Astros are more than content spending for mediocrity. Lyon is a middle reliever, while Feliz is a no-hit band-aid at third base. At least Myers has some upside.
Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez.
From 2003-2006, Myers was a young, up-and-coming starter capable of throwing 200 innings and serving as a No. 3 in the rotation. The next three years would see injury struggles and just plain ineffectiveness rear its head. Indeed, the last two years have seen Myers' K/9 the lowest since 2004, when he posted a 5.52 ERA in 31 starts.
Myers' peripherals have always been strong, however, as his career 3.90 xFIP would suggest (career 4.40 ERA). The downtick in fastball velocity from 1-2 mph has been enough to depress his strikeout numbers although his command has firmed up.
He missed over two months with right hip surgery and had a recurrence of a right shoulder strain, which knocked him out for most of 2007 as well. Assuming his velocity was impacted by these developments in 2009, he should reach 91-92 mph consistently with his fastball again. If he can do that, he has a chance to vault back up to a No. 3-caliber starter. The curve is his money pitch, but it abandoned him in 2009 -- which may be connected to his hip troubles.
Myers represents a risk. Is it the type of risk the Astros should be taking? The minor leagues are one of the worst in the games, and this is a team intent on competing.
As a strict one-year deal, I wouldn't fault this signing. Problem is, it's not a one-year deal.
At $5.1 million ($3.1 million in 2009, followed by a $2 million buyout of a $8 million mutual option), Myers' value in 2010 should provide a return on investment -- one win at the least.
The mutual option is what turns me off. Sure, the option is essentially a $6 million deal because the buyout would be paid no matter what, but it seems like an awful lot to commit to someone whose contributions in 2010 are questionable.
Being on the hook for 2011 could end up being a headache for general manager Ed Wade.
Evan Brunell is currently editor of Fire Brand of the American League, a Red Sox blog he began in 2003. He also scores games at Fenway Park for MLB. He was the co-founder and president of MVN, an independent sports media web site.