Now that he's being paid like a serious starter, will Brett Myers get serious about treating every start preciously? The Phillies and the 25-year-old right-hander avoided arbitration and came to terms on a 1-year, $3.3 million deal yesterday.
Myers has the best chance to become the Phillies best starter next season. Improving upon an inconsistent 2004, 2005 was his best in his budding three-year career, posting a 3.74 ERA and 208 strikeouts, which led the club and was tied for third-most in the National League.
No pitcher on the Phillies’ staff excelled away from Citizen’s Bank Park more than Myers. On the road, his ERA was more than a point lower, allowing almost half the earned runs he gave up at CBP (32 to 57).
The best Myers is the one who jams hitters with his newly-fashioned cutter, molded from the same cast as the one Jon Lieber throws, or locks up opponents with his curveball, which may be the best pitch in the entire organization. It’s usually a home where he tends to throw more fastballs, strikes out more batters, but also gets into the most trouble.
His best game might have been one I missed, a 6-1 complete game against the Pirates on Aug. 20. The best one I saw was on July 2, when he took a shutout into the ninth against the Braves before tiring. He struck out nine that game, and his curveball never looked sharper. That day, he was an ‘ace.’
As the season wore on however, Myers, who appeared to be gaining weight, got worse. As last reported, I believe it was Marcus Hayes who wrote that Myers has been training this offseason and is in great shape.
When talking about the aces in the National League, Myers isn’t there yet, but at 25, he’s got all the tools. He needs to stop pitching angry and start being cool. With Josh Beckett out of the mix - whom Myers is often compared - he has a great chance to establish himself as the premier, young right-handed starter in the NL East.
I don’t know why he keeps his curveball holstered as much as he does. Perhaps fear of hanging it at CBP. Perhaps fear that the catcher cannot frame it for a strike. That July 2 game, by the way, was caught by Todd Pratt, not Mike Lieberthal, who usually catches him.
But no more excuses, not from me, not from Myers. He seems to come up with enough on his own.
Now, he’s got 3.3 million reasons not to.