...I've now had some time to think more about this Brett Myers situation. Freeing up 200IP in the rotation is a major plus for a guy who took a significant step backwards in 2011 (as if no one could have predicted such a thing), the first year of a possible three-year deal.
Myers just wasn't as effective in 2011 - when he was making $8m - as opposed to 2010, when he was making $3.1m. That's not good economics. We can debate all day about how Wade should have traded Myers at the 2010 trade deadline, but he didn't, and now the Astros have the 3rd-most expensive closer in basbeall.
But if Jeff Luhnow wants to create an atmosphere of winning, then the bullpen had to be addressed. The fact is, the Astros lost 22 games in 2011 when they were either ahead or tied going into the 8th inning. If the Astros hold on to half of those leads, their record is 67-95. Not fun, by any means, but not considered one of the worst teams of all time.
Maybe his velocity will return. Mitch Williams said on Clubhouse Confidential that Myers wasn't all that smart, and maybe a reliever role was more suited for Myers than starting, and that Myers preferred to come out of the bullpen. That may all be well and good, but we're also looking at a player's velocity from five years ago as a guide for what his fastball can do. And I'm a touch uncomfortable with that.
Also, freeing up a rotation spot is a good idea for the Astros to see what they have in their young arms. Reportedly. But McTaggart said yesterday that the move "all but guarantees" a spot for Livan Hernandez. Should that be the course of action, the Astros traded 200+IP from a 30-year old pitcher for 200+IP from a 37-year old pitcher.
In 2011, Myers threw 216IP at an 85 ERA+. Livan Hernandez threw 175.1IP at an 87 ERA+_with a higher WHIP (1.40 for Livan, 1.31 for Myers). I'm struggling to see how this is an upgrade. If Myers' spot would be used for seeing what Lyles/Harrell/Sosa/Weiland could do (and yes, that could still happen), it would be a different matter altogether - for me, anyway, humble pants-less basement-dwelling momma's boy blogger.
And what of his trade value? Myers will get $11m this season, and his contract has been reworked to where his $10m vesting option for 2013 can be reached. Should Myers be traded on July 31, that would be before the Astros' 105th game of the season (there's a brutal stretch of 20 games in 20 days immediately following the All Star Game), where - if we break down $11m into 162 games - he would be owed about $3.9m for the rest of the season. Depending on whether or not his option vests, receiving teams would be inheriting that ~$3.9m plus the $10m option, should it vest, or the $3m buyout. That's an awful lot of scratch for a reliever, especially one who had not previously relieved for five years. The Astros would have to eat a lot of the contract, regardless of his role, anyway, so it's a question of whether a team would be willing to pay half ($7m-ish) for whatever Myers does in the first half, and then projects over the next season and a half.
Ultimately, it's a matter of whether or not Myers can do the job. And whether or not his rotation replacement can, as well. That remains to be seen. I don't hate the idea. But I don't love it, either.