The latest comment chatter makes a great segue for the post I was planning for today: that is, Brett Myers. With the competition heating up for the number 5 (and probably 4) starter, we also have a little battle going on for the role of Phillies ace. We’ll know who comes out on top by seeing who gets the nod opening day against the Cards at the new and improved Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. For what it’s worth, Brett Myers is my vote for staff ace.
The debate on Myers was well analyzed in the previous post’s comments. Despite how you feel about his performance prior to last season or his personality, putting Myers in context of the other slightly above average Phillies starters, Lidle and Lieber, he comes out on top. More than that however, is that with the offer of arbitration, Myers will only be under a one year deal next season. This will give him the ultimate incentive to work hard and perform - a nice, new contract.
I agree the Phils should not offer him a long term deal yet. If, as I suspect, he pitches well before the All-Star break, then they should start talking. Gillick is sure to have learned from the Wagner debacle and not allow Myers to test the free agency market and risk losing him to a team more "committed to winning." So it will be a balancing act for the Phils front office to determine when exactly to sign him. Myers, for his own part, can certainly help make the decision easier by taking the role of Phillies ace and running with it all season.