As expected, the Minnesota Twins have reportedly already shown interest in multiple veterans in their search for starting pitchers. One of the veterans on their initial list is right-hander Brett Myers, who spent 2012 pitching out of the bullpen for the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox and had 19 saves (all with Houston) in 70 total appearances.
The Twins have expressed interest in Myers as a starter, and he has apparently expressed his desire to transition back into the starting rotation for any team he signs with this off-season. So there seems to be a solid initial fit for player and team, but should the Twins seriously consider signing Myers?
Myers has extensive experience as as a starter at the major league level, with 249 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the Astros, which includes seven seasons with at least 30 starts made. He made a brief transition to the bullpen for the Phillies early in 2007, and he had 21 saves in 24 opportunities as the team’s primary closer. Overall for his career Myers has a 97-93 record and a 4.20 ERA over 377 total appearances with 12 complete games and 40 saves.
Myers had the best season of his career in 2010 with Houston, when he went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA over 33 starts as he set a career-high in innings pitched (223.2) and finished 10th in the National League Cy Young Award voting. He has five other double-digit win seasons in his career, including four straight seasons with Philadelphia (2003-2006) where he made 31 or more starts as well as pitched over 190 innings three times.
Myers is not the ace the Twins may be seeking for the top of their starting rotation, and his declining K/9 rate (5.6 in 2012, down from 7.2 in 2010) even with improving control (2.1 BB/9 in 2012) is a concern. He has been relatively healthy during the course of his career, with only shoulder soreness (2007) and a torn labrum in his right hip (2009) of particular note.
Since he did not start any games last season, Myers will have to prove he can be an effective starter again and that is sure to affect the type of offers he gets on the free agent market. Anything more than a one or two-year deal at a fairly low salary along with some incentives would surprise me, and that should put him right in the range the Twins will look to spend for a No. 3 starter. But if Myers prefers to go back to the National League, perhaps even back to Philadelphia, obviously Minnesota would fall by the wayside quickly.