Astros complete signing of Myers
Righty moves into rotation behind Oswalt, Rodriguez
HOUSTON -- Brett Myers slipped on a No. 39 jersey with his name on the back and flashed a large grin on Tuesday afternoon.
"Fits like a glove," he said.
And with that, the Astros finalized a deal with the veteran right-hander that is worth a guaranteed $5.1 million and potentially as much as $11 million over two years. Myers will earn $3.1 million in 2010 plus award bonuses. There is a mutual option for 2011 that would pay Myers $8.0 million and a $2 million buyout.
Myers will likely be slotted into the No. 3 spot in the Astros' rotation behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez. He has a 73-63 career record with a 4.40 ERA in seven-plus seasons with the Phillies. He passed a physical early Tuesday, which was important considering he missed much of last year after undergoing hip surgery.
"Myers does bring a measure of legitimacy to the rotation," said Astros general manager Ed Wade, who drafted Myers in 1999 when he was GM of the Phillies.
After he closed the door on returning to the Phillies last year, Myers gave his agent a list of three teams he'd like to play for in 2010, including the Astros. Houston followed him throughout the winter and last week, put together an offer.
The addition of Myers makes the Astros' rotation deeper heading into Spring Training next month. With Oswalt, Rodriguez and Myers at the top, youngsters Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino will battle with veteran Brian Moehler for two of the final three rotation spots.
Wesley Wright, Yorman Bazardo and Wilton Lopez will also be in the mix.
"I'm going to have to earn my spot," Myers said. "I'm not coming in taking anybody's spot. I've always been that way. I'm going to compete for a spot in the rotation, and whatever decision [manager] Brad Mills makes is the decision. I always like a fight; I always like a challenge. It's going to be fun, and I'm going to push these guys as hard as I can to give them the edge they need."
Myers started at least 30 games in all but one season from 2003-08, with the only exception coming when he saved 21 games for the Phillies in '07 before they acquired Brad Lidge. But Wade said his future in Houston is as a starter.
"That's the role we signed him for," he said. "He's had success in that role in Philadelphia, and really the only break in the starting routine came about when they needed a closer, and he stepped into that role before they acquired Lidge from us. He's got 68 big league wins as a starter and is 29 years old."
Myers carries himself with some bravado. He admits his humor can be off-the-wall, and it was on display a few times during Tuesday's introductory news conference. He even once answered a question aimed at assistant general manager David Gottfried.
"He's a very competitive guy, and he's got a little bit of an edge to him, which is fun," Smith said. "He helps liven up a clubhouse, and that's a positive thing. It's a long season, and it helps to have different personalities, particularly somebody that's performed well, that's accomplished and that's very competitive."
Myers was 4-3 in 18 appearances (10 starts) in 2009 with a 4.84 ERA. He underwent surgery to repair a torn hip labrum on June 4 and was sidelined by the injury until Sept. 4. After his return, he made eight appearances in relief in the regular season and two in the postseason.
"I'm fully recovered and ready to go," Myers said. "The hip is fine. I came back and pitched last year after having it, and it's definitely a lot more comfortable."
Myers was a three-time Opening Day starter for the Phillies (2007-09). He has made 30 or more starts and has pitched 190-plus innings four times in his career. Myers has reached double-digit wins in all five of his full seasons as a starter. In seven career postseason appearances (three starts), he is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
"Hopefully I'll bring a lot of innings for one, a lot of heart for two," Myers said. "I enjoy pitching and enjoy winning, but when it's game time, it's time to get serious."
In addition to starting, Myers also spent the majority of the 2007 season as the Phillies closer, where he was 5-5 in 48 relief appearances with a 2.87 ERA and 21 saves with 64 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings pitched. Myers ended up throwing the first pitch and last pitch of that season, recording the final out in the final game of the regular season, which clinched the National League East for the Phillies.
When he looks at the Astros' roster and the fact Houston went 6-2 against the Phillies last year, Myers thinks big things could be ahead in Houston.
"They beat us four straight games, and that shows you they can beat anybody," Myers said. "They just needed that extra edge, and I feel I can bring that to the table."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.