Kevin Millwood was never the pitcher in Philadelphia that he was in Atlanta. Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla haven't emerged quite the way it was thought that they would under Kerrigan. And Brett Myers may have been the most affected of all the staff.
While Myers at first seemed ready to succeed under Kerrigan, ultimately, Myers was a disappointment. In his first full major league season, Myers credited Millwood with helping him to mature and develop. The two had become good friends and Millwood taught Myers a lot about presenting the proper attitude, which may be considered strange coming from Millwood.
Meanwhile, Kerrigan continued to insist on tinkering with both pitchers. Millwood quietly bristled, while Myers openly yelled at Kerrigan in an open clubhouse. Different approaches to the same problem.
Now, after winning 25 games in his first two full seasons - and making a point of mentioning that over and over to reporters - Myers has decided to take on the media in his most recent eruption. "I had 11 wins (in 2004). You can go back and look at all the stats of other guys who didn't win 11 games and are making $10 million," Myers told reporters at a recent Phillies caravan stop. "You guys love Schilling. How good was he his first three years? He wasn't outstanding."
As for the comparison to Curt Schilling, let's just say that Schilling showed improvement over his first two seasons, which were spent as a reliever. His first two seasons as a starter showed much better numbers than Myers has approached in his first two years.
First, a tirade (perhaps deserved) directed at Joe Kerrigan, now at reporters. The fact is that while he won 11 games - and lost 11 others - Myers posted a 5.52 ERA in his second season, putting him just behind Shawn Estes of the Rockies for the highest ERA among pitchers who pitched at least 150 innings in the National League.
Brett Myers has a lot of talent. Odds are that under new pitching coach Rich Dubee, he will grow tremendously. Dubee will take much more of a hands-off approach to dealing with pitchers, preferring to work with them based on their own style, rather than trying to get them to conform to what he wants them to be as a pitcher. Myers must realize though that looking for other places to throw blame to isn't going to make him better. He will need to look to himself to make himself better. It appears that by starting an off-season weight and training program, Myers has started to do just that. He is fit and apparently, ready to go.
Technically, Myers has a battle on his hands for a spot in the rotation. Young Gavin Floyd, also a victim of Kerrigan's tinkering, will come in to camp looking to steal a job. It's unlikely that Floyd will succeed, but if Myers isn't on his game, don't count Floyd out as a second option.
Before long, the talking will be over and it will be left to the players to show what they can accomplish. Were Bowa and Kerrigan a negative factor on many players? It's very possible, perhaps even likely, that they were. Now, Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee will look to reverse that trend with players like Wolf, Padilla and perhaps most importantly, two of the most affected players in Pat Burrell and Brett Myers. We can only hope that there will be no need for Myers to look for another direction to point blame at this season.
Brett Myers' Career Stats