Congratulations to Brian McTaggart over at MLB.com. Since he left the Houston Chronicle to handle the Astros beat for MLB.com, he has scooped his former employer time after time after time again. The latest coming on Friday afternoon when he scooped the Chron by hours as to the Astros signing of free agent pitcher Brett Myers -- more on that in a minute.
Of course, it's kind of easy for McTaggart to scoop the Chron right now seeing as they don't currently have a baseball beat writer. Jose de Jesus Ortiz has been moved to the Houston Dynamo beat. It's rumored that soccer guy Bernardo Fallas will be taking over the Astros beat, but he doesn't seem to be actively covering the team at the moment.
It's nice that the Chron sees the continued importance of covering the Astros, and maybe, come spring training, they'll see fit to send one to Florida to check in on the team. I'm sure that Richard Justice will be up for the job -- just for the chance to go kiss up to Drayton McLane. But as long as McTaggart is on the job at mlb.com, there's really no need to check out the Chron.
And congratulations to the Astros for throwing five million dollars at injury-risk nut job Brett Myers.
Myers missed most of last season with the Phillies -- where he was drafted by Ed Wade -- because of problems with his hip. His career numbers are perfect for the current Astros as he's 73-63 with a 4.40 ERA. Last season he was 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA. But seeing as he gave up over a hit per inning (70.2 innings and 74 hits) he should fit right in with the rest of the Astros. If need be, he can close as several years ago he did his John Smoltz impersonation and moved to the bullpen where he got 21 saves.
But McTaggart and Fallas might want to be careful when it comes to covering the Astros and going into the clubhouse as Myers is known for his media meltdowns -- this has become one of Jim Rome's favorite clips. He also had a Julio Lugo-type event several seasons ago -- but unlike Lugo who was dumped by the Astros, Myers was allowed to pitch as a wife getting her ass kicked by her husband wasn't really that important to the Phillies. [Note: Lugo was a cquitted of criminal charges.] And if I were Bud Norris, I would be wary of Myers as Myers likes to play stupid pranks on his teammates.
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Now were the Astros improved by signing Myers? Well, the team's so bad that bringing in any veteran under 30 has to improve it. Still, it's not like Myers was exactly in demand. And he has been known to be an innings eater in the past. That past, of course, was before he started getting hurt. Still, he makes more sense, and has more potential to actually make a positive contribution to the rotation, than last year's pick-ups Mike Hampton and Russ Oritz.
But all in all, this is probably more a move based on Wade trying to do a favor to one of his old players, and it's definitely an instance of Drayton McLane trying to convince the more gullible of Astros fans that the team is going to be able to contend this season.
Personally, I think the team should stop wasting money on vets like Myers and just go on ahead and find out if Norris and Felipe Paulino are ever going to be quality major leaguers. Then again, if they don't want to end up like Kyle Kendrick they'll make sure not to flash too much talent while Myers is around.
And Brian, be careful. We don't want to hear you as part of a Jim Rome sound bite.