Despite getting solid work from their starting pitchers all season long (solid, not great), the Yankees will continue to look for rotation help this summer and rightfully so. It would be foolish to think that one or more of A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Ivan Nova won’t blow up at some point. One name that has popped up as potential trade target is Brett Myers of the Astros, who had a resurgent season in 2010 (3.56 FIP in a career high 223.2 IP). Houston sports one of the worst records in baseball and they figure to listen on anyone making decent money, so let’s look at the right-hander starting with the negatives…
- Fastball velocity? It’s gone. Myers sits around 87 mph with the ol’ number one these days, continuing a scary downward trend from last season. His fastball has always been below average, but now it’s even worse.
- Myers is amazingly homer prone. His 1.81 HR/9 this year is up from 0.80 HR/9 last year, but his career mark is 1.29 HR/9. That’s awful. Given his respectable ground ball rate (41.4% this year, 47.2% career), that leads me to believe he’s prone to mistake pitches that hitters simply don’t miss.
- Although he hasn’t missed a start since the beginning of last season, Myers has had two shoulder strains in recent years (2007 and 2009) as well as surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in 2009. Same injury as Alex Rodriguez. That’s three injuries of various severity in five years, and he turns 31 this August.
- Myers is no rental. He’s scheduled to earn $7M this season ($1.17M per month) and then $11M next season with a $3M buyout of his $10M option for 2013. The option can vest based unknown performance criteria in 2012. That’s a lot of scratch.
- And finally, there’s the whole domestic abuse thing. Yes, it was five years ago. Yes, he’s still an asshole for it.
- The fastball is certainly in decline, but Myers’ has a really good curveball that’s as effective as ever. It’s still dropping more than 10 vertical inches on average, and batters are still swinging and missing at it (11.9% whiff rate this year, 13.9% last year).
- He’d probably come cheap. I can’t imagine it would take much to acquire him, even if Astros GM Ed Wade has an affinity for Myers dating back to their Phillies’ days.
- Myers has pitched in the playoffs a bunch of times, including two World Series runs with Philadelphia. Playoff experience has value, but I’m not sure how much.
There’s really not much to like here. Myers have been below replacement level this year thanks to the dreaded sub-2.00 K/BB ratio (it’s at 1.96), and really his biggest value comes from the name. He’s expensive, there are legitimate concerns about how his stuff would translate to a hitter friendly park in the AL East, and he’s expensive. Yes, it’s worth repeating even if the Astros pick up some of the money. I’ll take pretty much anyone if they can be acquired for next to nothing, but I can’t see how giving up anything of value for Myers in his present state makes sense.