Multiple reports Tuesday afternoon shared news that the Cleveland Indians had reached an agreement on a one year deal with free agent right-hander Brett Myers. Though terms have yet to be released*, it is believed that the deal contains an option for the 2014 season. The agreement is pending a physical, but the addition of Myers may have an adverse impact on the team’s younger starting options.
* Jon Heyman is now reporting (via Twitter) that the deal is valued at $7 Million.
Myers, 32, has spent the bulk of his professional career working out of the starting rotation, but he did make 70 appearances out of the bullpen this past season with the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. Combined he went 3-8 in that stretch, posting a 3.31 ERA and 1.224 WHIP over 65.1 innings of work. He also saved 19 games for the Astros before a July trade sent him to Chicago. While he was effective out of the bullpen, Myers has never made a secret about his desire to start again, however.
San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota were all also rumored to have some interest in Myers at various points this offseason.
Inserting Myers into a projected rotation in Cleveland will likely push one of the team’s top starting options out of the mix for a rotation spot. The veteran likely slides into the middle of the rotation, behind right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson. From there, things get a little less clear. The final two spots in the rotation will come down to two of Zach McAllister, Carlos Carrasco, or Trevor Bauer, with the outside options coming from David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, and Scott Kazmir. While each holds a varying likelihood of actually landing a spot in the rotation, the addition of Myers doesn’t bode well for the chances of seeing all three of McAllister, Carrasco, and Bauer in the team’s rotation from Opening Day.
McAllister made 22 starts for the Indians this past season, throwing 125.1 innings in total. He was 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.336 WHIP in his first full season in the Major Leagues, having made a few brief appearances at the end of 2011. The 25 year old former 3rd Round pick (2006, New York Yankees) has looked good in the upper minors in his minor league career, including going 17-5 in 36 starts over the past two seasons at Triple-A. Carrasco, 26 in mid-March, missed all of the 2012 season, meanwhile, while recovering from Tommy John Surgery that he underwent in September 2011. He’s expected to be healthy enough at the onset of Spring Training. During 2011 he went 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.364 WHIP in 21 starts (124.2 IP) – a very similar line to that which McAllister put up this past season. The pair are likely the favorites to round out the Indians rotation.
Ultimately that likely means Bauer may be the odd man out of the equation initially. One of the game’s top pitching prospects, Bauer generally sees mixed reactions across the amateur scouting community as there are some who believe he’s primed for a huge rookie season if given the opportunity to pitch in the Major Leagues, but there are others who feel that he needs additional seasoning in the minor leagues and a little maturity. Bauer seemingly ran himself out of town in Arizona, despite being a promising young pitcher, due largely to his open nature and apparent concerns about his work ethic. If he can arrive to Spring Training with the Indians and debunk such theories then the team could be faced with some challenging decisions. Bauer made just four starts for the D’backs this past season, but had a dominant season in the minors between Double-A and Triple-A (12-2, 2.42 ERA, 130.1 IP).