Brett Myers sounds like a man who wants out of Philadelphia. It's somewhat ironic, really. You see, the Phillies have stood by Myers through all of his injuries, his struggles and his immaturity. Now, as he approaches the end of his contract and a crack at free agency, the right-hander who is somewhere between a starter and a closer and possibly, neither, is looking to start issues in the clubhouse as the Phillies look to climb back from a 3-1 hole in the World Series.
After a big win Monday night that put the series at 3-2, Myers, unprovoked, walked up to Cole Hamels. "What are you doing here? I thought you quit," asked Myers. For his part, Hamels took exception to the jab, but shot back with only words and not any physical response. Probably a good thing considering Hamels' record in fist fights. You may remember that he broke his hand while in the minors when he got into an altercation outside a bar in Florida. Actually, the incident could have developed into something more dangerous had a team official not directed Myers away from Hamels locker.
Myers question was likely prompted in response to Hamels' comments after game three when the Yankees hit him around. It was the latest in a line of bad starts for Hamels, who was last year's MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series. In an answer that he wishes he could take back, Hamels basically said that he can't wait for the season to be over. "I can't wait for it (the season) to end. It's been mentally draining. At year end, you just can't wait for a fresh start," said Hamels when asked about his season after the loss in game three.
What Myers may or may not have known is that Hamels' remarks sounded much worse than he intended them to be. After having his comments read back to him after they were printed, Hamels realized how bad they sounded and actually lost sleep over the quote and went into manager Charlie Manuel's office following Monday night's win to clear the air. "I wanted to tell him my thought process and that I'll never, ever quit," said Hamels of his meeting with Manuel.
The point is that Myers sought after Hamels and even approached him at his locker to make the remark. There was no reason for the remark and there was no way that it could have done Myers, Hamels or the team any good, especially considering the situation that they're facing. Perhaps, Myers should take a long look in the mirror. His season ERA of 4.84 was half-a-run higher than Hamels' 4.32 mark, which was a definite down year for Hamels, while Myers hasn't had an ERA in that neighborhood since 2007 when he posted a 4.33 ERA. Myers 5.39 post-season ERA this season with a hit and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of work isn't exactly anything worth crowing about. Myers was even left off of the NLCS roster because he had pitched poorly in the series against Colorado.
Myers should also be aware that his actions could be a factor in what type of contract clubs would be willing to offer him in the off-season. After all, he's coming off of hip surgery, hasn't been truly effective in either of the past two seasons and is lost in that spot between being a starter and a reliever. With his injury background and history of struggles, Myers could find himself in the company of journeymen-type pitchers who stick around baseball for years, but are never really in the limelight. Those kind of guys never make top dollars and are very much of an afterthought in putting a team together that can win a World Series.
It will actually be very interesting to see how teams respond to Myers when he hits the free agent market this off-season. There are clubs that could still look at him as a starter, although he hasn't started a game since late May. Others may look at him as a closer, although he hasn't saved a game in just over two years. Rest assured that Myers will want big money as a free agent and he might not find what he's hoping to receive, which could also mean that the Phillies won't take a chance on offering him arbitration. Most clubs will likely want an incentive laden deal for a year or two, while Myers is at a point where he'll be looking for much more financial security with a longer, more lucrative contract offering far more guarantees than teams may be willing to give.
There is no denying that Cole Hamels season has been bad; especially the post-season. But there is also no denying that Myers is in no position to be throwing jabs at Hamels, who has already accomplished things - like his two post-season MVP awards - that Myers has never come close to getting. However many games the Phillies have remaining against the Yankees, whether it turns out to be one or two, it's likely that number matches the number of games that Myers has remaining as a Phillie. His act has grown old and stale and it's probably best for both sides if he were to move on to the next town that will have him.