Astros, Brett Myers finalize $5.1 million deal

January 12, 2010 3:10:10 PM PST
Pitcher Brett Myers wanted to return to the Philadelphia Phillies. After eight seasons, it felt like home. When they didn't make an effort to re-sign him, the right-hander turned to the Houston Astros and finalized a one-year contract Tuesday that guarantees him $5.1 million.

The 29-year-old Myers became a free agent after spending his first eight major league seasons with the Phillies.

"I wanted to go back to Philadelphia, but they didn't show an interest, they had other obligations, which is fine with me," Myers said. He then promised to "stick it" to the Phillies every time he faces them.

Myers will get $3.1 million this year, and the deal includes an $8 million mutual option for 2011 with a $2 million buyout. He also can earn additional performance bonuses.

The Astros are expecting Myers to fill the No. 3 spot in the starting rotation, behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez next season. Myers went 73-63 with a 4.40 ERA with the Phillies. He was 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA in 10 starts and eight relief appearances last year, when he made $12 million.

Team president Tal Smith said the Astros got positive medical reports on Myers after he underwent hip surgery last June. Myers also missed two months in 2007 with a right shoulder strain, but Smith is confident that Myers that be a "workhorse" for the Astros in 2010.

"He got a clean bill of health in all respects, the hip, the shoulder, everything checks out fine," Smith said. "He's a big, strong guy. He's been a workhorse and there's no reason why he can't continue."

Myers' wife, Kim, attended the news conference, but did not speak to the media. In June 2006, Myers was arrested and charged with striking her during an argument in Boston. The charge was dismissed over the objection of prosecutors because Myers' wife agreed to an affidavit showing she did not want the charge pursued.

Myers said the incident was "blown way out of proportion" and that his marriage is strong. Myers said he was advised by the Phillies not to speak publicly about the incident and he now regrets not addressing it at the time.

"It's tough, because we've wanted to come out and have a press conference, tell everybody and set the record straight," Myers said. "We just haven't been able to do that. You just can't read everything. You've got to kind of live your life and play the game of baseball well."

Smith said the Astros have no concerns about Myers' character. Myers made his major league debut with the Phillies in July 2002, when current Astros general manager Ed Wade was the Phillies' GM.

"We did our due diligence, we talked to the Phillies, we talked to Brett and we're satisfied that this is not going to be an ongoing problem," Smith said.

The acquisition of Myers will reunite the pitcher with former Phillies Michael Bourn, Jason Michaels and Pedro Feliz, whom the Astros signed to a one-year contract in December.

The Astros went 74-88 last season, their second losing record in three years. The Phillies, meanwhile, played in the World Series for the second straight year, and Myers wants his postseason experience to be an asset in Houston.

"Just being able to go that far and see what it takes and seeing how long the season really is, it's something I can bring a little bit," Myers said. "Just being myself, hopefully guys will work with me and push me, because I like being pushed. Hopefully, they push me harder than I push them, because that's going to make us both better."


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