11/06/09 4:36 PM EST
Phillies cut ties with veteran Myers
GM Amaro informs pitcher he will not be back in 2010
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Myers said Friday afternoon that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. informed him that he would not be re-signed. Myers, whom the Phillies selected in the first round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, said he had a feeling would not return. He first felt it when the Phillies acquired left-hander Cliff Lee in July, and again when he rarely pitched in the postseason. But Myers also knew, with the salaries the Phillies already had committed, that he was unlikely to be back.
"Kenny Powers is officially a free agent," Myers joked in a telephone interview.
Myers went 73-63 with a 4.40 ERA in 240 games in his Phillies career. He started three Opening Days for the Phillies and recorded the final out in the 2007 regular season, which helped the Phillies clinch their first National League East championship since 1993. He also helped them win the 2008 World Series.
Myers went 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA this season, which was derailed in May by an injured right hip that required surgery in June. Myers rejoined the team in September as a relief pitcher, but strained his right latissimus dorsi muscle. That sidelined him for a couple more weeks.
"I'll be fine," Myers said. "I've got friends and family up here, but there's always a time when change has to happen. If I don't fit their plans, that's fine with me. There's nothing I can do about it. I can't sit here and be sad about it. It's been great playing here. I've had ups and downs here.
"It's always tough when you have to leave your family behind, and I consider the Phillies family. I've been with them for 10 years. But like I said, there's always a time when you want to go."
"We decided to go in a different direction," Amaro said.
Myers said he would have been willing to sign a one-year, incentive-laden deal to remain with the team, but the Phillies weren't interested. The veteran also said he has no preference starting or relieving, but he would like to pitch closer to his Jacksonville, Fla., home. If Myers starts, he would like to start in the National League because "I rake in the playoffs."
If he is a reliever, Myers would pitch in either league.
"I just need to keep pitching and be myself," Myers said. "There's nothing I can change about myself and there's nothing I'm going to change about myself. It's me. It's who I am. I'm going to compete just as hard for another team. If I come across the Phillies, I'm going to try to make it [tough] on them. I've got friends from my time here, but cross that white line and its 'game on,' you know?"
Myers has had his share of off-the-field drama since he joined the Phillies. He was arrested in Boston in July 2006 for allegedly striking his wife, Kim, in the face. Charges were later dismissed. He suffered a setback in his rehab this season when he said he fell out of his wife's SUV and hit his face on the car door. He initially had told the Phillies he had injured himself when his son threw a ball that hit him in the eye.
Amaro said he liked Myers as a person and any off-the-field issues were not a factor.
"I kind of felt like the drama found me a lot," Myers said. "Especially, the thing with [Cole] Hamels."
There was a report earlier this week that Myers and Hamels got into a tense confrontation after Game 5 of the World Series. Hamels, Myers, a team official and media members who were eyewitnesses said no incident ever took place.
"Things would get blown way out of proportion," Myers said.
Myers was packing up boxes Friday afternoon, and he is headed to Jacksonville on Saturday. Myers is unsure of his future, but he said he has no regrets in Philadelphia. He enjoyed his time with the Phillies.
"I know it's a business," Myers said. "They were honest with me from the beginning. There's no hard feelings whatsoever."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.