Brett Myers might not be the top name on the free-agent pitching market, but there's a growing sense within the Twins organization that he could be a good fit in Minnesota.
Myers, 32, began last season as the Astros closer and, after a July trade, moved into a set-up role with the White Sox. Now, the righthander with 97 career wins is looking for another starting job, and his agent, Craig Landis, confirmed Friday that the Twins have expressed interest.
"They're interested, or perhaps even very interested," Landis said. "And that's about as far as we are right now."
Added Twins General Manager Terry Ryan: "I'm not going to get into every guy we've contacted. We've touched base with most of the pitchers on the market."
But Twins insiders believe Myers will be one of their primary targets because he could be reasonably priced and probably would embrace the chance to become a rotation leader, pitching at spacious Target Field.
The Twins open the season April 1 at Target Field against the Tigers, and if that game were tomorrow, the pitching matchup would be Justin Verlander vs. Scott Diamond. After going 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA as a rookie this past season, Diamond is the only pitcher penciled into next year's Twins rotation.
Myers has made four Opening Day starts -- 2007, 2008 and 2009 with the Phillies and 2011 with the Astros. That's certainly not the only reason the Twins are interested, but that footnote speaks to his experience.
Myers was a first-round pick -- No. 12 overall -- by the Phillies out of Englewood High School in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1999. He was arrested after a fight in 2006 with his wife, Kim, outside a bar near Fenway Park, but charges were eventually dismissed. The couple now has four children.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Myers has made $52 million in his career. After eight years with the Phillies, he signed a one-year, $5.1 million deal with the Astros in 2010. He went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA and pitched 223 2/3 innings that year, prompting Houston to give him a two-year, $23 million extension.
He was a starter again in 2011, going 7-14 with a 4.46 ERA in 216 innings but returned to a closing role for Houston this year, as he'd done for the Phillies in 2007.
In 70 combined appearances for Houston and Chicago this year, Myers posted a 3.31 ERA, averaging 5.6 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings.
Myers' fastball averaged just 88.4 mph when he was a full-time starter in 2011 but jumped to 91.6 this past year as a reliever, according to Fangraphs.com.
"He's pretty much focused on finding a starting job," Landis said. "If we did a multiyear deal, and somebody wants to put him in the bullpen, he's done that twice before."
It's uncertain how many teams besides the Twins are interested in Myers. Some free-agent options already have come off the board, including Scott Baker (Cubs), Jeremy Guthrie (Royals) and Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees).