By FRANK WARD
Much has been made in recent weeks about Ruben Amaro’s desire to add a solid pitcher to the Phillies rotation in the event JA Happ can’t return from the DL, Joe Blanton doesn’t regain his form, or Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick implode.
There’s a former Phillies “ace” that’s beaten CC Sabathia in the postseason who will be available at the deadline that would be the right price both from a salary perspective and a trade perspective.
No, it’s not Cliff Lee. Sorry. That arm has sailed. The Phillies would have to part with more than they received for last year’s postseason hero. Amaro isn’t about to look like a complete idiot and admit the mistake. (Although, at the time, I understood Amaro’s stance in trading Lee and won’t bash him for it now).
Instead, look toward Texas for a possible solution. More specifically, consider the Astros Brett Myers. Now, before you spit your Corona all over your iPhone or computer keyboard, consider the fact that Myers has had a rebirth in his first injury free season in a couple of years.
His 5-5 record won’t impress you too much. However, his 3.20 ERA ranks 22nd in the NL and his 77 Ks are 18th. In a 16 team NL, that makes him a quality No. 2 starter. On a team with Roy Halladay and a rejuvenated Cole Hamels, Myers would make a top No. 3 guy. Add in a Moyer, Blanton or Happ to the mix and your postseason rotation is set.
Will this actually happen? We doubt it. First, Myers’ immaturity — the reason he was jettisoned from town in the first place — is likely still simmering somewhere within him. You just never know when that side of his personality will take over and that’s the reason Amaro elected not to resign Myers.
In addition, Myers was not pleased with the brief “meeting” he had in which he was told the Phillies were going in another direction. And, there’s still that incident between he and Hamels last postseason after the 2008 World Series MVP said he can’t wait for the season to end in the midst of the World Series. Myers saw him the locker room soon after and said, “I thought you quit.”
The point is, it’d be very tough to bring Myers back into this locker room. Having said that, with Halladay the leader of the pitching staff, Myers would have to tone his act down. And, with the chance to win another ring and impending free agency after this season, you have to think he could keep it in check for three months.
Will it happen? Probably not. Would it be fun and worth a shot? Consider the fact that Myers is still just 29 and will be motivated by the prospect of free agency. Myers is owed $3.1 million this year, of which the Phils would need to pay the prorated portion. That’s cheaper than what they’d need to pay Pedro. There is a mutual $8 million option for next year, but you don’t need to pay that. Simply rent him for three months.
Can it really hurt? With a motivated Myers behind Doc and Cole, the Phillies could be unstoppable.