Shades of 2009

lidge 0731 2010.jpg

Brad Lidge‘s blown save tonight in a 7-5 loss to the Nationals stirred more memories of his nightmarish 2009, when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities (73.8 percent). But Charlie Manuel wasted no time in his post game news conference telling folks Lidge is his guy.

“He’s our closer,” he said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him. He has his moments.”

Lidge, who is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities (71.4 percent) this season, allowed a leadoff single to Michael Morse and walked Adam Kennedy with one out when he threw a 92 mph fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who crushed the ball to center field for a three-run home run to win the game. Lidge said he shook off catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw the 2-1 pitch inside because he had success with that pitch against Zimmerman in the past.

Manuel said the Phillies have to keep working with Lidge. Why?

“Because that’s what we’ve got,” Manuel said.

The Phillies picked up Astros ace Roy Oswalt before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, but did not address a bullpen that entered the night ranked 10th in the National League with a 4.11 ERA. The Minnesota Twins got Nationals closer Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26 saves) before the deadline, although it required their top prospect. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Octavio Dotel (2-2, 4.28 ERA, 21 saves) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players. (Had the Phillies not traded Cliff Lee, perhaps they could have swung a prospect or two to get somebody like Capps or Dotel, right?)

Internal options? Ryan Madson has struggled as a closer, converting 18 of 24 save opportunities in his career. The Phillies said Danys Baez could be an option when they signed him to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, but he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA and has not pitched recently in many close situations. Jose Contreras might be the best option. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and three saves in three opportunities this year as closer.

“I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years,” said Manuel, when asked about Madson. “I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: ‘Guys don’t know their roles.’ I can go on all night now. Let’s just drop it right there.”

Lidge’s fastball this season has averaged just 92.5 mph, according to fangraphs.com. That is the lowest average of his career. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph in 2009, 94.3 mph in 2008 and 95.2 mph or better from 2004-07 with the Houston Astros. As his fastball has lost velocity, so has the separation in mph between his fastball and slider. He had 7.8 mph of separation between his fastball and slider this season, 8.2 mph in 2009 and 9.2 mph in 2008.

“I’m a guy that in the past has thrown 95, 96,” Lidge said. “This year I’m learning to pitch with a little bit less on my fastball. You don’t want to pay too much attention to it because you want to execute your pitches … it’s something I’ve got to learn to pitch with.”

Lidge, who had offseason elbow and knee surgeries, said he is not sure why his velocity is down, but said he is healthy.

“I don’t feel hurt or anything,” he said. “To me it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal of. It’s something I need to be able to pitch with. My rehab outings all the way through, it’s kind of stayed the same. If it’s not going to get back to the 94, 95 as it has in the past, then I’ve got to pitch with what I’ve got.”

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23 Comments

Most of us are losing are jobs these days even when we’re doing a great job. Why is it so hard for the Phillies to lay off Lidge? Sure he’s a great guy and I wish him well, but even if he loses his job as closer he will continue to make millions of dollars for the rest of the season and can always get a job next year as a middle reliever. How is it so hard to give the ball to Contreras instead?

Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee… I cant take it anymore… Yes it was a mistake… but it’s history…he’s not coming back… and everything is NOT related to Cliff Lee.. with all due respect Todd youre one of my favorites… but this situation is all about money.. plain and simple…the Phils have plenty of prospects to pick up a closer… it’s simply a money thing.. I’m asuming with Lee’s 9 mill they would be in worse financial shape.. subtract Happ’s money and add Oswalt and I assume thats about 5 mill additional they took on… so thats still less money than if they had Lee… and they are still “capped” out… they have Worley, Singleton, Mathieson, Gilles, Aumont, Cosart, and others… thats plenty to get a Dotel or Farnsworth.. if they wanted to they could probably get Downs too or Capps… who knows.. I just think it’s financial and they are unwilling to go over the current #.. even with the 11 mill they raped the Stros for…

Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee… I cant take it anymore… Yes it was a mistake… but it’s history…he’s not coming back… and everything is NOT related to Cliff Lee.. with all due respect Todd youre one of my favorites… but this situation is all about money.. plain and simple…the Phils have plenty of prospects to pick up a closer… it’s simply a money thing.. I’m asuming with Lee’s 9 mill they would be in worse financial shape.. subtract Happ’s money and add Oswalt and I assume thats about 5 mill additional they took on… so thats still less money than if they had Lee… and they are still “capped” out… they have Worley, Singleton, Mathieson, Gilles, Aumont, Cosart, and others… thats plenty to get a Dotel or Farnsworth.. if they wanted to they could probably get Downs too or Capps… who knows.. I just think it’s financial and they are unwilling to go over the current #.. even with the 11 mill they raped the Stros for…

oops sorry bout that… Todd this team absolutely has to get BP help… they could try Mathieson short term while they work on a waiver deal… im sure they wont but why not at this point case Lidge and Baez are useless… Romero is inconsistent… Contreras is inconsistent but is a possibility… I wouldnt trust that tho.. and madsen cant close… what are the possibilities of waiver trades for the following Todd..
Gonzalez Balt… Soria KC (prob wont clear waivers), Valverde Det if they keep diving… Downs Tor, Aardsma Sea, Legue Sea?
of course they could sign depth like Beimel from Col.. I see Chan Ho got released with his 6 era and 89-90 mph fastball..
we are desperate… so why not? they may need 2 of these guys at this point… Lidge’s 13 mill next yr is brutal… guy is shot and his career may be done…

Don’t need to make a trade, give up prospects or bust the bank. Just call up Scott Mathieson who has 20 saves in LV with a 1.06 WHIP and a ERA of 2.79 in 48.1 innings. Will he be the best closer in baseball this year? No!! will he be better then Lidgfe? Probably, he definately can’t be worse, and if he is worse, we can always put heart attack Brad back in the 9th

THen again, we just spend tons of money, and traded Happ + 2 prosepcts to get a rotation that hopefully will render the bullpen redundent in the playoffs. Let H20 (Halladay, Hammels and Oswalt) pitch complete games all the time…

1st please skip blantons next start.

fun lineup for today.

rollins
werth
ibanez
polanco
ransom
ruiz
brown
howard rest him down here today

oh and don’t let madson & lidge pitch today.

Lee is gone and Lidge is done. Time to move on. It is kind of baffling that they didn’t get some BP help.

Crazy as this sounds… this was only a soft dealine, there is the other in August. What about the talk a while back – assuming the Redsox are out of it by them and supposedly already have a closer in the wings – the Phils dangle Werth for Papelbon????

Just so everyone can have a laugh this weekend after we lost 2 to the F-ing Nats….http://sportsmansdaily.com/thescrum/?p=3027

Ya know things are bad when Capt. Homer (Chris Wheeler) mentions in a resigned voice that Lidge didn’t have it last night. Charlie has a blind spot with Lidge, partly due to 2008. Loyalty is a nice trait, but who watching didn’t say “oh no” when he started getting hit last night? If Rube and Charlie wait until Sept. call ups to use a Worley or Mathinson, we may be out of it by then. Cripes, send Dobbs back to LV and bring one of them up, can they really be any worse?

I think they should try Worley…his fastball tops out about 95mph, slider around 83mph. But most impressive, he looked confident in the one inning he pitched on 7/24. Mathieson is ok too, but he looked nervous and unsure of himself last we saw him. Something has to give…Lidge cannot be allowed to kill his team like this. They battled hard to get the lead last night and he let them down. It is unfair to the whole team to let this continue.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

jimmymack, I think Charlie is as exasperated as anybody about Lidge, but he has tried everything in the last year and nothing else is working. I think when he said last night, “He is our closer”, it was a message to Amaro that he had to do something about it because he has run out of options.

I was so frustrated that I look at the numbers last night, and they’re not pretty, and go to show that Amaro is smart, but has no idea as to the finance of baseball, economics, nor market conditions and inefficiencies.

Let?s look further and let the statistics tell their own story?for simplicity and accuracy sake, let us use a 5 year sample period.

Lidge WAR (Wins Above Replacement)

2006: .9
2007 : .6
2008: 2.2
2009: -.7
2010: -.1

If we calculate that out, Lidge has averaged just a shade over half a win over replacement. In his duration with the Phillies, Lidge has been worth .7 wins per year, at an average cost of $9.8 M per season.

Now let us look at this economically and see what the story tells. For this example, we will solely use Lidge?s time with the Phillies.

2008: 2.2 WAR, $6.4 M
2009: -.7 WAR, $11.5 M
2010: -.1 WAR, $11.5 M

If we calculate this out, that is$ 29.4 M for 1.4 wins, with Lidge’s AAS at $9.8 M. Even the most naive and ignorant to finance can see the inequity and the asininity of a contract that handicaps the team intensely.

Taking wins out of the equation, and looking solely at pitching performance, there is a clear statistical aberration. Let us use ERA+ as the defining metric for performance and try to spot a trend.

2006: 85
2007: 133
2008: 226
2009: 59
2010: 97

It is clear that 2008 was an aberration, one in fact that net Lidge a contract far exceeding value. In fact, Fan Graphs has calculated Lidge?s value over the past 3 seasons to be a measly $6.3 M compared to the $29.4 he will make, excluding next year?s $12.5 M salary.

The Oakland Athletics have an incredible organizational philosophy?it is one that relies on young closers who are cost controlled and deliver results. If Ruben Amaro is reading this, the answer is quite clear. Take that savings and draft college pitchers who can zap through the system and close out games. Don’t go looking for the next Huston Street, but rather look for college starters who are typically 1 plus pitch with decent secondary stuff and move them to the pen.

The organizational philosophy is incredibly broken. It relies on taking on a lot of veterans, using the draft to draft toolsy players, and kowtowing to the commissioner’s office.

It’s not bad enough the the Phillies have failed to address their most pressing need in the BP, gave up a promising player for a player who may be over the hill and, in doing so, raised their payroll for 2011 to $148 million for 16 players. Dobbs, Kendrick and Fransisco will be eligible for arbitration. Figure Dobbs is not offered arbitration and Kendrick and Fransisco garner $1 million each. The payroll is now $150 million for 18 players. Assuming the minimum for the remaining 7 players and the payroll is up to roughly $153 million. This is about $14 million more than this year without addressing any problems. What are the Phillies to do?

Let Jose close. I don’t care, I’m sick of seeing Brad load the bases and lose.

pherris, I think you ought to jump ship and become a Yankees fan, because if the Phillies succeed in making the playoffs and/or a third srtaight World Series, you shouldn’t be allowed in the ballpark. And it may be a minor point, but the estimated payroll for those 16 players is 146 million, so stop padding your anti-Amaro screeds to your advantage. That’s the difference between maybe signing a player like Durbin or not.

And while they may not have unlimited funds, they do lead the NL in attendance and their TV and radio ratings are up 16% from 2009, which translates into dollars under their current contracts. The only difference the payroll makes to the owners is the amount of money they stick in ther pockets. They are not losing money, nor will they in the immediate future. CBP is printing money for them.

please we do not want Papelbon.
we want werth.

phan52: No matter how you slice it, the Phillies payroll in 2011 for 16 players is still more than the payroll for the entire roster this year. Kendrick and Fransisco add payroll. Junior was crying poor mouth in the Lee dealings. Can we expect less bleating this next off season? If the Phillies do not make to the WS this year, everything Junior has done is crap. Between Junior crying poor mouth and the Phillies fiscal reality is an area where the Phillies can eat a payroll spike in 2011 to overcome Junior’s mistakes. And, by the way Phan52, do you buy your knee pads in the same place as Wheels?

We get it pherris. You hate the GM of the baseball team that has won three straight divisions, two pennants and one of the last two World Series. A GM who has traded for three of the best pitchers in baseball in the last calendar year, something that would have been unheard of in the entire history of the 127 year old franchise. It must be entirely his fault that every single starting player except Werth has gotten hurt this year (since Howard has joined the list of wounded today), most of them spending significant time on the DL. It is also his fault that the highest scoring team in the NL for the last two years is underachieving in that regard. Yet in spite of Amaro’s mishandling of everything from the health of the team to theiir underwhelming offensive performance, they are in the thick of a pennant race. To quote ‘Whitey’, “hard to believe, Harry!”
…bleating indeed…

phan52, nice parsing of words. Hate is your emotion not mine. Junior was given a WS ready ballclub and gives no indication he is going to be able to maintain it. He has traded for two of the best pitchers and a third who has to show us he is not over the hill , although he lays down a good sacrifice bunt. But the genius then turns around and gives one of these pitchers away. He signs marginal players to excessive contracts in terms of money and duration. Considering what he was handed when he assumed the job I would give his performance thus far a D+.

Wow. Since he took over the job he has helped get the team to the 6th game of the WS against a team that routinely buys their way into the playoffs and has a payroll that exceeds 200 million. And he gets a D+.

Objectivity is not your strong suit, pherris. Try again.

Your right as usual phan52. Junior’s over all grade for job performance is at least a C-.

Pherris, your grading system is pretty harsh. None of us knows how much leeway the owners are giving Ruben. You probably assume he has total, unrestricted authority to call the shots. Personally, I believe the owners are restricting Ruben from making certain acquisitions for one reason or another.

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