Brett Myers may not be Zack Greinke, David Price or even Justin Masterson, but the signing of a veteran free-agent starter was fantastic news for Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona and the fans of the team.
After a miserable 2012 season from the starting rotation, with the third-worst ERA among staffs in baseball (5.25 ERA), could things have really gotten any worse for the Tribe starters going into 2013?
With pretty incredible regressions from both Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, along with a total implosion by Derek Lowe after June 1—which resulted in his release—the Indians had to do something to mix up the starting five.
While Myers is a solid addition, the club still lacks a truly dominant starter, which is troublesome with the Detroit Tigers possessing Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez—any of whom would probably slot into the Opening Day job if they were to join the Indians.
What exactly does Myers bring to the table for Francona, though?
A huge frame. Myers is listed at 6'4", 240 pounds—a tremendous, ideal frame for an innings-eating starting pitcher.
It is a good thing that Myers has that frame as well, as he has moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen and back to the starting rotation in a couple of instances during his 11-year career.
Reliability. Myers has missed 159 games in his career—from May of 2007 through October of 2009—due to hip surgery and a shoulder strain. Other than those two stints on the DL, he has started 30 or more games in seven seasons. Of the four seasons that he did not reach 30 starts, one was his rookie season (12 starts), one was his 2009 season and the other two seasons he was a relief pitcher.
He has also tossed 190 or more innings in six of his seven full seasons as a starting pitcher (only Masterson did that in 2012 with his 206.1 innings).
A solid track record. Myers is 89-79 with a 4.27 ERA in 249 career starts, averaging more than six innings per start with his 1,560 innings pitched. If the Indians were to fall out of contention or decide to trade Chris Perez, Myers could slide into the closer's role due to his success out of the bullpen (3.36 ERA and 40 saves in 128 games).
While giving a pitcher who only tossed 65.1 innings over 70 games a $7 million contract and hoping he can throw 200 innings the next year seems crazy, Brett Myers is a gamer who has filled various roles over his career. He has pitched in the World Series, he has closed games, he has set up and he has been an ace (finishing 10th in NL Cy Young voting as a member of the Houston Astros in 2010).
Terry Francona and the Indians will hope that Myers is able to handle another transition from the bullpen to the rotation, and if history repeats itself, the Tribe will be rewarded with their gamble.
Myers is a solid No. 3 starter who should not be miscast as a savior to the Indians rotation. However, he adds depth to a group that was clearly in need of an upgrade, and if nothing more, he will be a solid, innings-eater every fifth day for Terry Francona.
Brett Myers was a bargain at $7 million for 2013, and if he performs well, an $8 million team option for 2014 will be icing on the cake.
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