Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jesse Spector is scratching his head

It's not often that the NY media turns its attention to Houston. And it's generally not a good thing when they do. Such is the case with the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector on the Myers signing:

Although he might be more effective out of the bullpen, the Astros apparently plan to have Myers work as a starter, challenging Wandy Rodriguez for the No. 2 spot in their rotation...

...Houston has traded for Matt Lindstrom and signed Brandon Lyon for its bullpen this winter, so in Wade’s mind, the relief corps is set - but if you believe that both of those acquisitions were questionable, and that Myers is better suited for work in the late innings… well, then this becomes another head-scratcher.

Myers is the right player for the right situation, and at $5 million on a one-year contract for someone who made $12.1 million last year, the right price. But the only way that this is the right situation is that Houston is a city where Myers will have to deal with the media far less than he did in Philadelphia (and Myers is not the most media-friendly player in the majors), and a fresh start may be just what he needs. From a numbers standpoint, the idea of Myers as a potential No. 2 starter just doesn’t add up.

More from Spector:
The righthander is only 29 years old, so it’s not unreasonable to believe that he’ll bounce back in Houston, though it’s not like escaping Philadelphia will curb his penchant for giving up home runs - Myers has allowed 87 homers away from Philly in 590.2 career innings, compared to 91 in 593 innings at Veterans Stadium and the bandbox that replaced it.

The other problem for Myers is that his control has always been average at best, and he doesn’t have good enough stuff to make up for it - his fastball sits around 90 mph and his off-speed pitches are inconsistent. Myers was able to jack up the velocity on his fastball when he came out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2007, making his breaking balls more effective and resulting in a career-high strikeout rate of 10.9 per nine innings, but as a starter, he doesn’t strike out as many hitters, and gives up too many hits to allow for a career walk rate of 3.1 per nine innings.