Who’s In, Who’s Out When Contreras, Lidge Are Back?

Before the season started the Phillies had their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers aligned like this:

  • Jose Contreras in the seventh.
  • Ryan Madson in the eighth.
  • Brad Lidge in the ninth.

But because of injuries to Lidge and Contreras, the Phillies have adjusted. They’ve used Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero and others in critical late-inning situations. In last night’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Phillies went young. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Vance Worley picked up big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.

“I think I put them in the fire, didn’t I?” Charlie Manuel said after the game.

Contreras could be back in roughly a week, although that remains to be seen. Lidge has said he’s hopeful he could be back before the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen lines up upon their return. Who stays? Who goes? Worley has done an excellent job, but it’s probably in the team’s s best interest to eventually send him back to Triple-A to start. (Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much recently.) They need him stretched out in case something happens to another starter. Roy Oswalt already has missed time because of a bad back and Joe Blanton already has missed time because of soreness in his right elbow (he still has discomfort in the elbow). It doesn’t make much sense to have the team’s No. 6 and 7 starters (Kendrick and Worley) both pitching in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson or Vance Worley could be optioned Tuesday when the Phillies activate Oswalt from the DL. The other could be optioned when the Phillies activate Contreras. But what happens when Lidge returns? If Worley and Mathieson are optioned at some point and everybody is healthy, the bullpen would look like this: Baez, Bastardo, Contreras, Kendrick, Madson, Romero and Stutes.

Now it gets interesting. Bastardo, Contreras, Madson and Romero appear safe. The Phillies need a long man, which is Kendrick. That would leave Baez and Stutes. Baez has had his struggles, but is a veteran making $2.75 million. Stutes has options, but has been impressive in limited action. Fortunately for the Phillies the decision does not need to be made today. If Baez is pitching well when Lidge returns I think he stays. But if he’s not pitching well he could be in trouble — unless Stutes himself is struggling.

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15 Comments

Baez has been a bae-ust. Time to cut their losses.

I’m sure it wouldn’t happen but I’d love to see Romero go. With him it’s quick outs every third or fourth appearance and really bad jams all the rest. But no matter how poorly he does, he still has that annoying swagger.

Todd, slow day at Flat Rock or what? As you write, Lidge doesn’t enter the mix until late June. What is that five or six weeks away? True, Baez is making $2.75 but he already has made a portion of this and the remainder will continue to decrease until the Phillies hand is forced. If the decision does not have to be made concerning Baez until mid-season, Junior’s screw-up in this regard may only cost the Phillies $1.4 million should they cut him. If the Phillies address the problem in-house the remedy should cost them only half of the minimum or roughly $250,000 minus the amount the Phillies would have to have paid the replacement on the minor league level no matter what happens. Lastly, all of this could be a moot point should the Phillies have to DL another pitcher. Besides, worry is the interest on a debt not yet incurred.

Keep Worley. Drop Romero off at the nearest dog shelter.

We have to be thinking beyond this year. I have serious doubts that we’ll ever see Lidge again; unfortunately, his best days appear to be two years behind him. Contreras has been great, but how many pitches are left. We need to start building young talent.

It’s gotta be Baez. This team is built to win now, & you’ve gotta have the best bullpen out there. Worley you want at AAA because you want him to be your spot starter when the next SP gets injured, & Romero, while inconsistent, provides value in the pen as a second LHP.

I would drop Lidge, he has been toast for a few years. They are winning without him, so why use him? Contreas can be used in the 7th keep Kendrick and Baez. Worley is a future starter with a lot of promise. Send him down for the work, don’t stunt his growth.

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Todd, timely article! I say dump Baez & Romero and keep Stutes and Worley. Letting them get more experience in the Show will only give them more big league experience and give them more confidence! Stutes & Worley can benefit from networking more with the “H2O” and the rest of the pitching staff along with Dubee’s coaching. If Blanton &/or Oswalt’s injuries inhibit their effectiveness then Kendrick can start or one of our rookies!

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Romero and his swagger can hit the road.

If Baez hasn’t already been DFA in his brief stint with the club, then it aint gonna happen. Reason being, he is Jose Contreras’ english translator. Even though they have people who can do that, Baez is very good friends with Contreras, plus he is making over $2 million, which ensures his spot on the club. Even though the Phillies know he cannot pitch, as evident from his usage. It’s stupid, but it happens. If you’re making the big money, your spot is safe because GM’s don’t want to admit they made a mistake.

I’ve had enough of Kendrick. How do you walk the pitcher in that spot? Cost them three runs and any chance at the game.

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Tell Romero and Baez to be sure to write even if it’s just a post card. Let ol’ deer-in-the-headlights Kendrick know that he’s on the bubble.
Youth will always be served in this game.

How do we walk the pitcher? I don’t know but ask Roy Halladay. Oh! I forgot Roy doesn’t screw up.

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