Scouting The Trade Market: Brett Myers

Despite getting solid work from their starting pitchers all season long (solid, not great), the Yankees will continue to look for rotation help this summer and rightfully so. It would be foolish to think that one or more of A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Ivan Nova won’t blow up at some point. One name that has popped up as potential trade target is Brett Myers of the Astros, who had a resurgent season in 2010 (3.56 FIP in a career high 223.2 IP). Houston sports one of the worst records in baseball and they figure to listen on anyone making decent money, so let’s look at the right-hander starting with the negatives…

The Cons

  • Fastball velocity? It’s gone. Myers sits around 87 mph with the ol’ number one these days, continuing a scary downward trend from last season. His fastball has always been below average, but now it’s even worse.
  • Myers is amazingly homer prone. His 1.81 HR/9 this year is up from 0.80 HR/9 last year, but his career mark is 1.29 HR/9. That’s awful. Given his respectable ground ball rate (41.4% this year, 47.2% career), that leads me to believe he’s prone to mistake pitches that hitters simply don’t miss.
  • Although he hasn’t missed a start since the beginning of last season, Myers has had two shoulder strains in recent years (2007 and 2009) as well as surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in 2009. Same injury as Alex Rodriguez. That’s three injuries of various severity in five years, and he turns 31 this August.
  • Myers is no rental. He’s scheduled to earn $7M this season ($1.17M per month) and then $11M next season with a $3M buyout of his $10M option for 2013. The option can vest based unknown performance criteria in 2012. That’s a lot of scratch.
  • And finally, there’s the whole domestic abuse thing. Yes, it was five years ago. Yes, he’s still an asshole for it.

The Pros

  • The fastball is certainly in decline, but Myers’ has a really good curveball that’s as effective as ever. It’s still dropping more than 10 vertical inches on average, and batters are still swinging and missing at it (11.9% whiff rate this year, 13.9% last year).
  • He’d probably come cheap. I can’t imagine it would take much to acquire him, even if Astros GM Ed Wade has an affinity for Myers dating back to their Phillies’ days.
  • Myers has pitched in the playoffs a bunch of times, including two World Series runs with Philadelphia. Playoff experience has value, but I’m not sure how much.

There’s really not much to like here. Myers have been below replacement level this year thanks to the dreaded sub-2.00 K/BB ratio (it’s at 1.96), and really his biggest value comes from the name. He’s expensive, there are legitimate concerns about how his stuff would translate to a hitter friendly park in the AL East, and he’s expensive. Yes, it’s worth repeating even if the Astros pick up some of the money. I’ll take pretty much anyone if they can be acquired for next to nothing, but I can’t see how giving up anything of value for Myers in his present state makes sense.

The RAB Radio Show: June 7, 2011

The Yanks had just one pick in the draft yesterday, but it certainly caught people’s attention. Mike and I talk a bit about Dante Bichette Jr., but more about how this plays into the Yankees’ draft philosophy and why they’ve gone against the grain of traditional rankings in the past few years. We also look forward to the high-ceiling, signability players available on Day 2.

Podcast run time 21:54

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Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

2011 Draft: Day Two LiveBlog

Now we’re talking. Day one of the draft is all about bells and whistles, MLB’s attempt to increase the popularity of the draft by broadcasting it and what not. That’s fine and I completely understand why they’re doing it, but unfortunately baseball’s draft just isn’t a made-for-TV event. Five minutes between picks is about four and a half too long, and frankly I don’t think any of us wants to hear the MLB Network announcers declare every pick great (in one way or another).

With that behind us, we’re back to the roots of the draft. All the picks from here on out will be made via conference call, which you can listen too via MLB.com’s Draft Tracker. The picks will come rapid fire, one after another, which is the way it should be. Last year’s day two liveblog lasted almost eight hours, so I hope your schedule is empty today. Here is the draft order, the liveblog is after the jump and begins promptly at noon ET…

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Pettitte: ‘I don’t think I will ever pitch again’

For those of you holding out hope that Andy Pettitte will have a change of heart and return the Yankees either later this year or next, well you can pretty much forget about it. Pettitte appeared on The Michael Kay Show yesterday, telling the host “I’m not dying to be playing baseball right now … I’m absolutely loving being home … I don’t think I will ever pitch again.” Andy coaches his son’s Pony League team and plays on his church softball team, but otherwise he’s just loving the retired life. “I’m just another dad out there.”

2011 Draft: Day One Links

The Yankees used the 51st overall pick in the draft to select Dante Bichette Jr. last night, the fourth straight year (and sixth time in eight years) they’ve selected a high school player with their top choice. Much like the regular season, the baseball draft is a marathon and not a sprint, and there are still two days and 49 more rounds left in this thing. Rounds two through 30 will take place later today (beginning at noon ET), which I’ll again be liveblogging. Until then, let’s round up some links that recap day one and look ahead to day two…

  • It’s worth noting that the Yankees announced Bichette as a third baseman both at the podium and in the press release. He figures to move to left field down the road, but they’re going to see if he can stick at the hot corner first. Might as well, no harm in trying. If you want to follow him on Twitter, Bichette’s handle is @Dante19Jr.
  • Jason Churchill of ESPN broke down all of yesterday’s picks (first round, sandwich, Insider req’d), saying this about Bichette: “He has good makeup and is a future outfielder with a strong arm and some power potential. The hit tool is a question, however.” That’s a pretty big question when you’re talking about a corner outfielder.
  • Keith Law posted a winners and losers type of post (Insider only), and the Yankees made neither category. I guess that’s good. The winners were basically all the teams with extra picks, the losers the teams that really cheaped out (Braves, Rangers, Dodgers).
  • Within that same post, KLaw listed his best available players. Here’s the same from Baseball America (no subs. req’d). Of those players, it’s worth noting that Josh Bell may be unsignable and that Matt Purke’s shoulder is a huge, huge question mark. The Yankees have been linked to Dillon Howard though, and we’re well behind the point where his talent says he should have gone. I get the feeling that Bell will fall big time, into the double digit rounds. Just a hunch though.
  • MLB Draft Insider did a pass/fail post, giving the Yankees a failing grade for the Bichette pick. “There are far too many good talents still out there for this to be acceptable from the Yankees.” Well then.

The Yankees will be picking 28th in each round from this point forward (save for the silly compensation third round, which is all of one pick), so their first choice is 88th overall today. They’ve gone overslot for day two players consistently during the Damon Oppenheimer era, which is where they’ve had most of their success. I can’t imagine they won’t do the same today.