Brett Myers IS the forgotten man. Lost in the excitement of the Phillies recent winning streak, the burgeoning lead over our divisional rivals, and the nonstop attention given to the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee sweepstakes lies Brett Myers. There can be little question that the sensationalized trade talks which ultimately brought us Cliff Lee have spawned countless articles illuminating our farm system and prospects on an almost unimaginable level. Kids who spent the last few seasons toiling away in our minor leagues suddenly became household names. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve learned more about our pitching prospects in the last two weeks than I knew in the last two years. Even people in Canada now know that the "crown jewel" of our farm system is Kyle Drabek, and speculation runs high that he may be big-league ready as early as next season. All of this has understandably fueled talk of a dream rotation next year, ie, Hamels, Lee, Drabek, Blanton, and possibly Happ. But no one seems to mention Brett Myers. He is a quintessential afterthought.
It wasn’t that long ago that Brett was thought of as a co-ace along with Cole. They were deemed as 1 and 1a, so to speak. I believe that Brett was even given the ball opening day last year and, of course, played a pivotal role in our championship. As we all know, Brett Myers is a free agent after this season. Several questions come to mind. First, do we even want to resign him? The answer seems dependent on what role he could play. It is unlikely he would agree to return as a middle-reliever or set-up man. And forget closer. This team has committed nearly 12 million a year for the next three years for the services of Brad Lidge. That leaves starter. With the addition of Lee and possibly Drabek, our rotation is becoming quite full. Blanton is arbitration eligible and will almost certainly return (I assume Pedro will not be back). Does the team want Myers? If he returns to form, he could certainly be one of the better No. 3 or No. 4 starters in the league.
The other question is that of cost. Brett cost the team 12 million dollars this year, and yes, that salary is coming off the books. But this figure is part of a heavily backloaded three year contract which only cost us a little more than 8 million per year, a very reasonable price for a quality starter. Ironically, his injury this season may severely curtail his free agent worth and allow us to re-sign him for a very respectable deal. If we don’t, there will of course be takers. There are no shortage of teams who will be looking for a good (and still relatively young) right handed pitcher. Brett knows this. Injury notwithstanding, he is in a contract year. That’s why he has been rehabbing like a man possessed and claims to be well ahead of schedule.
Brett’s role in our championship last year makes him a sentimental choice to return. Good teams, however, don’t pay for past performance. They pay for potential. So the question remains for our forgotten man. Do we want him back? And at what cost?