The Astro Elephant in the Room with Myers

"Let me see that million dollar arm, Meat, because I've already got a good idea about that ten-cent head of yours." --Crash Davis


At 5 million on a one-year deal, Brett Myers the pitcher is probably a good deal for the Astros. He's got some value (as long as his drop in strikout rates isn't due to his hip injury or his change in mechanics) and gives Houston more options in the rotation. We have all been pining for another starter since the season ended. Is Myers what we'd hoped for? Not exactly, but he's good enough for a January pickup.

No, the issue here isn't his baseball abilities, it's his personality and what his signing says about the top levels of this organization. One of the commenters from Philly alluded to the quote above when talking about Myers. It made me laugh, especially since I had just re-watched that movie two days ago.

Myers is young. 29 and a free agent. He still only got a one year deal. Teams seemed to be wary of him over a perception that he's got a prickly personality. Plus, he complains about his role and doesn't seem to fit the mold of the current clubhouse. Stories from when the Phillies made Myers their closer always mentioned hs attitude affecting the transition and his subsequent switch back. Granted, Philly fans have been known to be a tad tough on players (they booed Santa Claus, for Pete's sake). I don't get the feeling this is a perception based on that, nor is it a Randy Johnson/Jim Rice situation where the writers don't like a guy because he's not a good quote. It seems like players have not really liked Myers either.

The Astros have fit jerks into the clubhouse in the past. The Jeff Kent stories were pretty classic, but it seemed like they respected him as a player and were able to leave him alone. I'm hoping the Astros will be able to come to terms with Myers in a similar way, and that getting out of the clubhouse he's grown up in as a player will help give him a fresh start.

The thing that still nags at me is the domestic violence charges Myers faced after an incident with his wife in Boston. The story was not a good one for anyone involved, but as I remember, Myers' wife did not press charges. Nothing has happened like that since, but it's out there. Considering the Astros once designated a player for assigment before the story of his domestic violence charges even broke, this seems very hypocritical.

I don't want to moralize. I don't like writers playing the moral police with the Hall of Fame or steroids and I don't want to condemn either the player or the club simply because he had an incident of domestic violence in the past. I certainly wouldn't be friends with the guy and think what he allegedly did was pretty scummy.  Bad guys can still win the World Series.

But, you can't have it both ways. The Astros made the decision to deal with Julio Lugo's situation by immediately cutting ties with him. A valuable player, Lugo was let go as the organziation made a decision based on off-the-field behavior. They drew a line at what's acceptable behavior. If that's how they want to run things, I'm fine with it , but you lose any moral high ground when you sign another guy with an alleged incident in his past. Yes, the Lugo situation happened eight years ago and some of the managment has changed, but I get the feeling the Lugo stuff came down from Drayton. He hasn't gone anywhere (yet).

So, I just felt obligated to bring this up. It has nothing to do with how he'll do as a player (probably), but his personality and off-the-field issues have to be mentioned. We've discussed them here and we can move on to spring training talk.

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