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Ex-Phillie Brett Myers moves on to free agency

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Brett Myers was the second longest tenured Phillie on the 2009 roster. On Friday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. informed Myers that he will not be returning to the team in 2010.

When all is said and done, Brett Myers made his mark on Philadelphia Phillies history. He helped the team win its second World Championship in 2008 after rebounding from a disastrous start. He returned from the minor leagues in July to give the team the number two starter it so desperately needed. Let's take a look back at some colorful, and not so colorful moments of the Myers in Phillies pinstripes.

Believe it or not, Myers had been a member of the Phillies before Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jim Thome, Billy Wagner, and Kevin Millwood even donned the pinstripes. His lifetime record of 73-63 indicates one of two things: 1. The Phils’ top draft pick in 1999, Myers was one of several Phillies prospects at that time who were either overvalued by the Phillies brass, or 2. Brett Myers' own worst enemy was and continues to be Brett Myers.

There were the times when his curveball looked like it was the best in the majors, and then there were times when it seemed like it never dropped. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has gone on record stating that Myers at times was not the easiest person to work with. In a way, his up and down career mirrors his personality. Myers was the type of guy who would retaliate at the drop of a hat for a teammate who got plunked, and then call a reporter a "retard" because he didn't like his question. The 2006 Boston incident has been rehashed enough, but the 2009 "incident" which pushed back his rehab from hip surgery may have been the final straw in the Phillies decision to finally cut ties with the righthander.

We all remember when this team held on to players for far too long. The Phillies want to win the World Series again, and they have shown the last two years that they don't have a problem showing their long time players the door. The only difference with the Phillies and Eagles is that the Phillies do it in a classy way. Hey, Pat Burrell didn't return to get his World Series ring and show up at some World Series games at Citizens Bank Park last week for nothing.

Myers' cockiness at times perhaps outweighed his talent, but he was willing to take the ball anytime or anywhere if it would have helped the Phillies win a game. Sure, he was pitching for a contract this year and that probably had something to do with his desire to return. Due to Myers' competitive nature, it seems that he would have come back anyway if it would have helped the team. Moreover, on a team with quiet and unassuming stars such as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, Myers was the Phillies' resident hard-ass. Giving a swagger to a team who usually does their talking on the field.

In typical Myers fashion, his final act as a Phillie was making headlines for allegedly razzing Cole Hamels for his now infamous comments he made following Game 3 of the World Series. It's hard to believe that Myers is not even 30 yet. If he is completely healthy by February, he probably has some good years left in his arm and can be a serviceable pitcher for a contending team.

One would even argue that despite a career whose expectations have been mostly unfulfilled, Myers has had some of the most memorable moments of any player ever to play for the Phillies. He will be forever etched in the minds of Phillies fans for closing out the 2007 season when the Phillies capped off one of the most miraculous comebacks in baseball history. Of course, Myers' most famous moment as a Phillie happened when he didn't even throw a pitch. Nobody will ever forget Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS when Myers worked a nine pitch walk off CC Sabathia, setting the stage for Shane Victorino's dramatic grand slam. Man, I'm shaking my head in amazement just thinking about that. Many have gone on record saying that the at-bat was the defining moment in the Phillies' World Series run that year. And the more I think about it, I tend to agree.

So if Brett Myers happens to return next season to the ballpark wearing another uniform, you have to do what he wants you to do: boo. As evidenced by his speech at last year's parade, Myers always did get the Philly fans.

Surprised? Nah. Coming from the unpredictability of Brett Myers, you should expect nothing less.

photo: www.trueslant.com