Making a Move
November 8, 2007
During the organization meetings at the end of last month, the Phillies targeted pitching as their primary goal for the off-season, a point which isn’t new to anyone.
As has been mentioned previously, the free agent starting pitching market is as thin as a razor blade. Signing a free agent pitcher for multiple years at major bucks can hurt as much as a cut from a razor blade.
Getting a quality closer would allow the Phillies to move Brett Myers back to the rotation. Various options were discussed, including free agents.
The focus then shifted to trading for a closer and Brad Lidge’s name came up. Scouts who had seen him during the second half said he was really tough, a biting slider and a plus fast ball. His numbers are awesome: 88 strikeouts in 67 innings (54 hits) and a 2.89 ERA over his last 53 outings.
We began discussions with Houston as the Astros have some bullpen depth and when Lidge’s name came up yesterday, things began to heat up. The PR department first got wind late yesterday afternoon that a deal was warming up. With medical records to review and the need to contact the players involved, the deal was announced around 10:30 last night.
Early in the season when Tom Gordon went down with an injury, the Phillies felt they had to get creative to fill his vital spot. That’s when the decision was made to move Brett to the pen. The decision was viewed as “panic”, “desperation” by many but in the end, it was the best move for the ball club.
With the bleak free agent market, we again became creative to improve the staff. Lidge is quality and Brett is better than any starter on the market.
Eric Bruntlett’s versatility fills Abraham Nunez’ role. Eric’s ability to play shortstop is appealing because Jimmy Rollins played every game last season. A rest now and then would be beneficial to Jimmy.
The message board has mixed reviews, which is fine. Some are concerned that we gave up the future for winning now. Well, the goal of this organization is to win a world championship. I know the fans feel that way, too. Remember, to get quality, you have to give up something.
Adding another bullpen piece and another starter is still on the shopping list. Getting another outfielder has entered the picture, especially if Aaron Rowand signs elsewhere.
Not wanting to wait until the winter meetings next month to improve the club, we were proactive yesterday, pulling off the first major deal of the off-season.