Friday, January 8, 2010

A little reaction to the Myers signing

Fanhouse's Pat Lackey says:
For a team that's been spending money in rather questionable fashion this winter (three years and $15 million for Brandon Lyon?!?), Myers seems like a relatively good risk. He's only 29 and though he battled injuries last year and spend most of 2007 in the bullpen, he put up some good numbers in 30 starts with the Phils in 2008 (1.379 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 innings, 3.1 BB/9) and could, at the least, be an innings eater in a rotation with very little depth behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez.

The Phillies Files:
Myers doesn't solve all of the Astros' problems, of course. He's a risk because of his health, their next three starters are Felipe Paulino, Brian Moehler, and Bud Norris, and most of their roster is still getting old at an alarming rate. GM Ed Wade has managed to scrap together semi-contenders in both of his years on the job in Houston, but even with Myers in the fold it's hard to see how he's going to pull it off for a third straight season.

That sounds awfully negative, but I do like this signing. Myers is a good risk to take for a team that needs rotation help without being able to spend a lot. And if nothing else, the Astros increased their chances to stay ahead of the Pirates!

I still think Myers is a valuable tool, and I do respect certain things about his approach and work ethic. When the Phillies wanted him to be a closer, he did it with no questions asked. When they wanted to move him back into the rotation, he didn't complain one bit. Then, he worked his butt off last year to come back early from hip surgery because he desperately wanted to help the team, even if it was as a middle or situational reliever, a role he was totally unaccustomed to.

He's absolutely a team player and a hard worker.

I wouldn't be surprised if he helps Houston. I don't think he'll put up all-star numbers or ever be a No. 1 starter again, but he's got enough left in the tank to really make an impact.

The Crawfish Boxes:
If the Astros view him as the last link for the starting rotation, this move is at least defensible. Myers pitched just 18 games last season, 10 of which were starts while posting an ERA+ of 88. His FIP was terrible at 6.32 but his xFIP of 4.32 was decent. Myers will turn 30 in August, so he's still young(er than some Astros players), but has topped 100 innings only once in the past three seasons. His strikeout rate has steadily dropped, from 8.59 in 2006 to 6.37 last season. Of all his peripherals, that's the one that worries me the most. Myers was always a strikeout pitcher. If he can't get those, will he still be as effective.

Richard Justice:
The Astros opened last season with a rotation of Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz and Brian Moehler. If things go according to plan, they'll open this season with Oswalt, Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino.

Isn't it funny the difference one potential signing can make? Ed Wade's addition of Myers could be significant.

Astros County:
Justice seems to think that Myers' signing bumps Moehler, and this is what I would prefer. I don't like the idea of Myers bumping Paulino from the rotation. I like it even less if he bumps Norris. What the Astros need is time, and signing Myers to a one-year deal, with an option for 2011, allows for that time. But with the Cardinals signing Holliday, it's going to be a few years before his contract becomes a Carlos Lee-esque deal and starts to screw the Cardinals. So take your lumps, raise up the farm system, and be ready for the time when the Cardinals ask Albert Pujols wait to cash the check until the following Tuesday (do you think baseball players have direct deposit? Can you imagine checking Bank of America and seeing a deposit for $900,000? If that happened to me, then the only explanation would be that I would have to immediately move to a non-extradition country. And do this full-time. From my third patio.)

Am I happy with the Myers signing? Sure. But as TCB astutely notes, he hasn't been a high-strikeout pitcher since 2007. Away from Philadelphia in his career, Myers is 36-27 with a 4.66 ERA / 1.43 WHIP. His Win% is higher on the road, but his home ERA is 4.14, with a 1.28 WHIP. So will his stats improve at Minute Maid? It would make sense that it would, and Tommy Manzella will be better for him than Tejada would.

But let's think: who are the five best starting pitchers on the roster now? You can choose from Roy, Wandy, Norris, Moehler, Myers, and Paulino?

It would make me feel much better if the rotation was as follows: Roy, Wandy, Myers, Norris, Paulino. Sorry, Moehler. This, of course, won't happen. And why not? Because it makes too much sense. And because Moehler will make too much money to do anything but throw him out there every 5th day and hope that you get more Good Moehlers than Bad Moehlers.

It's a good signing, and it improves the rotation, which needed to be improved.