Because I only focus so narrowly on the Astros, I'm not sure if we are wholly unique in this experience, but having Alyson Footer in her new position has been a awesomely great thing for we as Astros fans. That and the invention of Twitter. As I've been writing, her Twitter stream has provided plenty of info, but also glimpses of how something like officially announcing a player and introducing him to the clubhouse, etc. actually works. That's a perspective that we're not supposed to be privy to, yet Footer brings us along.
I'm not going to link to each individual tweet of hers on the Myers media blitz, but I'll summarize the high points. Brett Myers, who will wear number 39, will get paid $3.1 million in 2010. If things go well, there's a mutual option, yet to be explained, that is worth $8 million if exercised, and would cost the Astros $2 million to buy out. Savvy move, Edward.
Sure, I don't know how the mutual option works, but here's what I do know. Next year, Kaz Matsui and his $5 million are off the table. So even if the Astros do have to take Myers' buyout, the net savings to payroll will be $3 million. Not a lot of risk there. If things go well, Brett Myers is, in his age 30-31 season, under contract for $8 million. Even if Myers doesn't pitch terribly well, it'd still only be a boon to our payroll by $3 million after you factor in the Kazuo Matsui's departure. Yes, I'm obscuring the dollars and cents with some cost/benefit analysis that might not be totally valid here, but it's valid enough for my brain.
Either way, in 2010, Ed Wade brought in a starter with the potential to be a number two caliber starter, who I believe will only need to fit the bill as a number four or five starter, at age 29—which JC Bradbury now informs us may be a player's peak age—for $3.1 million. Even if we assume that a WAR is going on the open market for $3.5 million, Ed Wade still purchased Myers at a discount—this year—under the most pessimistic of the projections.
As we've hashed out before, the value of the deal is also largely ancillary to Myers' actual performance. What truly matters is how it affects the shape of the Astros starting rotation. To that end, McTaggart will hopefully get Ed Wade to give us more specifics on just exactly how it'll play out. But for now, we have the following quotes from Wade, given prior to the Myers signing:
"People say you've given a lot of chances to Felipe Paulino, and the results haven't been good, but when you look at his age and the weapons and what he brings to the game and if you're opened-minded about it, you'd say this kid deserves every opportunity to show what he's capable of doing if handed the ball every fifth day," Wade said. "Bud Norris falls into a different category. He's established a good record of success at every level coming through the organization, and I wouldn't want to get into the position of slowing that progress down."
That quote, coupled with other comments in that article and other impressions I've gathered from Ed Wade and Brad Mills this offseason, lead me to believe that Brian Moehler is the odd man out. And that makes sense. The fifth starter was a position Moehler was suited for when Bud Norris was still tossing in a high school uniform. The long-man/spot starter is the position that he is best suited for now. It sounds like Ed Wade knows that Felipe Paulino is due for a rebound; whether it's because sabermetric evidence or scouting reports doesn't matter. What matters is that Ed Wade has made a pretty-savvy little ploy for 2010 that could see the Astros receive surplus value from their starting rotation. I should also add that that starting rotation could be pretty damn good.