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Indians Indians Archive Who Cares About Brett Myers?
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

Myers in HoustonYou don't like Brett Myers.

That isn't to say that I am particularly motivated to convince you to dislike him.  It's possible you actually dislike him, but far more likely that you don't care about him at all.  Sorry, but this simply isn't one of those situations where "WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE" applies.  The situation hardly calls for the benefit of the doubt; his southern character doesn't play well on the North Coast, especially if you want to wrap his domestic violence history into his charm, and that's before we begin to discuss Brett Myers, the Cleveland Indians pitcher.

Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind with the 33 year-old pitcher is probably one altercation or the other, and not his time on the mound for Philadelphia or Houston.  Myers spent some time in uniform on the southside of Chicago in 2012, but just for a little more than a cup of coffee.  He was a big piece on some really good Phillies teams, and a brief bright spot in a few dark years of baseball for the Astros.  He wore a couple of different hats, while wearing the same team's hat, splitting his time between starting rotation and anchoring a few National League bullpens in the closer role.

Myers in PhillyEven though he started on Opening Day for Charlie Manuel in 2006, and again for Brad Mills in 2010, Myers never had top-of-the rotation stuff.  He's 89-82 as a starter in his career, which isn't exactly what you might consider unacceptable for a middle-of-rotation guy, the role the Indians counted on him fulfilling when they picked him up in January.  He's making a cool $7 million this year, with a club option, which won't be picked up, for next season at $8 million.  He gave the Indians three starts, four total appearances, and an ERA over 8.  Thus far, passing the physical examination prior to signing in January, a condition of the Indians offer to him, has been his finest accomplishment in Cleveland.

With the exception of one good outing in Spring Training, he did nothing to impress anyone in Arizona.  Maybe you read something into that, or perhaps you dismissed it as Myers getting the off-season out of his system.  Sadly, he was essentially guaranteed a place on the roster and in the rotation, due to the financial and maybe what some would define as a dire collection of arms Terry Francona could march out there every fifth day.  Aside from being hit hard when pitching to contact, there was no denying the fatigue factor; he didn't pitch more than 4 innings in any of his first five starts of the spring, then looked fairly impressive over 5 innings against a Reds "B" team in the team's Cactus League finale in Goodyear.

The tired arm symptoms continued into the part of the year where they count the games in the standings.  He gave the 2-0 Indians five innings in Toronto, but allowed 7 runs, including 4 home runs, in his regular seasond debut with the Tribe.  He was skipped in the rotation when his next start came up, but we offer him points for versatility, being in the bullpen to relieve the ejected Carlos Carrasco in a lost game against the Yankees.  It is unclear who was worse on April 9th, between Myers and Carrasco, but those sort of things don't matter in a 14-1 loss, and should quickly be forgotten.  It was early, Myers body of work would un-do the 12.19 ERA he came out of the gate with, but the body of work remains limited on this day.

It was quite the dreary day in Cleveland on April 14th, the day of Myers best outing as an Indian, but also his second loss of the year.  He was throwing pretty well through five, and even bailed himself out with a double play ball in the sixth, but dug his own ditch with a two-out walk that setup a Paul Konerko two-run shot that gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead.  In all fairness, Jake Peavy shut the Indians down that day, and you really need to give Brett Myers more than one run, which the Tribe failed to do in a 3-1 loss.  Things were sure to get better in his return to Houston.

Now, I ventured by plane and automobile, with stops at Houston dining establishments Little Bitty Burger Barn and Ninfa's on Navigation, to see the Tribe take on the Astros in Houston.  It was just what the doctor needed after getting bruised and bloodied at home by the nine-figure payrolls of the American League East, a 3-game set with a minor-league-looking Astros club in Houston on mini-bat night.  Off topic, am I the only one who still doesn't immediately remember that Houston is an American League club now?  Myers line score says he only gave up 3 runs on 5 hits through five innings, but he got the hook after 76 pitches.  The 3 runs did come on back-to-back home runs in the second inning, but Myers looked effective, even if I couldn't identify fatigue from my cheap seat at Minute Maid Park.  I checked to see if he was lifted for a pinch-hitter, but Tito wisely went with the designated hitter (Jason Giambi, 0-4) on that Friday night against their newest AL West rival, a 3-2 loss.

Myers was apparently pulled, according to a Plain Dealer report, because of soreness in his right forearm.  An MRI reveled Myers had a mild tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, which landed him on the 15-day disabled list.  Myers threw a bullpen session and had some uninspiring rehab starts, then hit a bump in the road to recovery in early July, and landed on the 60-day DL.

Hans KluberIn the meantime, Corey Kluber has picked up the slack, looking outstanding for the most part, going 4-2 in 11 starts since the beginning of June.  In fact, with Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez holding down the top of the rotation, with an almost surprising amount of success, and the trio Kluber, Scott Kazmir, and Zack McAllister holding down the back end, there's just no room at the inn for Brett Allen Myers.

Myers has been reduced to the role of a cheerleader in the present tense.  I'm not going to claim I know more than the average fan about Myers from the time I spent with him in Goodyear, but I do know at least one thing to be true of the former-Astro; he loves the game of baseball and he'll play the game until they stop inviting him back.  He can't throw right now, and you have to believe it's killing him more than the fans calling him out on social media.  Myers takes quite the beating for his use of Twitter, but mostly to be reminded that he punched his wife six years ago, a cyber-beating that will never be as damaging as the physical damage inflicted by men who think it's okay to raise their hand to a woman.

Like I said, you don't like Brett Myers.  As an Indians fan, if you can get over the lack of action from the Phillies or Major League Baseball for the domestic battery, you probably still aren't prepared to be a fan of his.  He's hurt, and you hope he stays that way, if only for the fact that he isn't a winner, and you don't want losers contaminating this great thing going on at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.  At some point, I thought it would be pertinent to tackle what Myers role could be when he was ready to return.

CollmenterMyers has pitched out of the bullpen in the past, so you'd have to believe he'd be willing to take any assignment that Francona and (pitching coach) Mickey Callaway see fit.  There's no way he's a closer any more, and even as sketchy as the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning have been for the usual suspects in the 'pen, it's difficult to pencil him in as a late inning guy.  He could be a long man, since there really isn't one on the roster at the moment, and he can give you 3 or 4 innings, even if you don't want to throw him on consecutive days.  A good long man can help you survive those marathon outings.  That was Justin Masterson's role in Queens at the All-Star game, even though Jim Leyland didn't need him, it was imperative to have him available for that role.  Starter-turned-reliever Josh Collmenter has saved the day a few times in Arizona for marathon affairs, but the Indians haven't been plauged by any games like that.  They are 6-1 in extras; two of those went 11 innings and the other five only needed one extra frame to settle things.  Francona has not been put in the predicament of exhausting his bullpen in an ump-teen inning contest so far, but the season isn't over, and that could be a nice fit for Myers, who frankly doesn't cut it as even a fifth starter in 2013.  That's assuming he throws another pitch this season, which is very much up in the air.  If it mattered, we could take a long, boring look at what Collmenter has been for Arizona and why Myers can be that guy.

Myers wife wants no part of himMyers isn't going to be that guy.  Myers makes a lot of money, but he doesn't have to figure into the big picture in 2013, and the Indians option for 2014 with Myers is hardly an option at all.  The Tribe doesn't have a very deep farm system, but there is starting pitching, enough of it to make Myers, his $7 million salary, and all of the other baggage he brings completely dispensible.  Raise your hand, if it bothers you that the Dolan family fortune is $7 million lighter.  Raise your hand if you think a guy like Brett Myers can do anything to help a playoff push in September.  Raise your hand if you feel bad for Myers, given his love for the this thing on?

The silver lining in all of this is that Myers was more of a necessary evil, headed into the season.  No one liked that he was there, that he was assured a spot in the rotation, but it was something that Indians fans have gotten used to.  They had to deal with it, but losing his services for an extended period of time exposed some assets in the farm system.  Without him eating up a start every fifth day, it's now apparent that Francona and the Tribe don't need him to do that.  They don't even need to find a role for him.

Simply put, Brett Myers is not a part of the Indians past, present, or future, for all intents and purposes.  And, you don't care, nor should you.

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