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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Comments

Easy to say after you know he sucked in 09-11! In 08 the guy was perfect. Had he gone to FA his price could have been higher. Easy to write the article when you knew the outcome. I don't think you would have written this article in July of 08!

from last thread - re: Mike Stutes

The Phils def really like Mike Stutes - both as a player and a person. They used him at least once during the off-season to speak to the press about their minor league organization from a player's perspective and Charlie has gone on the record at least twice of praising his stuff and poise. Don't think he'll be on the 25 man roster with Herndon pitching well tonight but if Herndon had faltered, I think he would have been.

Shame about Lidge. The silver lining is that putting him on the DL is better than having him put up another season like 09. The three year contracts of Lidge and Gordon are eerily similar, good catch...

Also, it seems like the Phils have never had a closer last more than a couple seasons. What's with that? The career saves leader is actually Jose Mesa, with 112. I don't know how that compares with other teams, but I would guess that most other teams' career saves leaders have more.

Castillo has earned a chance to play a little bit. I was skeptical about him, but he's been as advertised so far, just without the supposed attitude issues. Good for him.

Javy- the other day I copy/pasted a quote from what JW wrote the day after Lidge signed the extension. I'm not going to go back to get the exact quote, but he was more or less dead on: he predicted in 3 years, we'll probably look back and see it as stupid, but at the time, it was deserved. And that was before August, Sept and Oct of '08 as he stayed perfect.

Also, regarding Castillo- I'm willing to give him a chance, I guess. With the way he turned it on after his awkward start, if you considered this past week+ a job interview, you'd have to say he did a good job and deserves to be hired considering the qualifications of all the other applicants.

I can't shake the feeling that he's going to be a disaster, but maybe he really does have a little left in the tank. It's worth taking a few weeks to find out.

Sleep on this idea. If Brian Bocock ever made the big club the sale of jerseys alone could fund the team for a year.

Lidge deserved the contract. He was coming off a season that actually won us a WFC. Anyone can say now that it was a bad idea. Of course it was, it's obvious. But put yourself in that situation at that time and you have to nail down your guy. Most of us would be married to babes and rich if we made our decisions in hindsight. Give the Phillies a break.

Javy: The whole idea of writing the post after the fact is to analyze it with hindsight. JW wasn't claiming he predicted it, or that the Phils should've known it was bad (though apparently Iceman notes that JW actually was right back then) . He is simply reporting that the contract was objectively bad. That is what reporting/commentary is.

Also, I completely forgot that Flash actually pitched in that 08 season. That's amazing.

Now that I think about it, though, I do remember that disastrous Opening Day appearance.

Rube has overpaid for more then a few guys recently. Better then the alternative I guess. But we are saddled with a few really bad contracts right now.

I think Stutes has made this team. And I don't think him pitching in the 9th inning tonight in a save situation, was a coincidence. No I don't expect to see him in that role at any point in 2011. But then again...crazier things have happened.

Also it appears Philippe Aumont could start as the closer at Lehigh Valley. He has reportedly had a tremendous spring. Looks like a completely different pitcher. Mathieson will be likely used more in a "Durbin" role as a setup man, it appears.

He ain't dead yet . . .
Roller coaster of a Phils career. Would be fitting if it ends with a sudden stop. I'm hoping it's really a 6 week issue.

What did Delwyn Young do or not do in the spring to lose a roster spot?

I thought he was a lock about 2 weeks ago.

This is going to put major pressure on both Mayberry and likely Valdez to be the #2 and #3 pinch-hitters on this team. Seems like Young would be the perfect guy to slot in at either one of those spots. Plus as a switch-hitter it helps as well.

Martinez will slot into the Bruntlett/Taguchi "never used until absolutely have to" role and Schneider will never be used because he is the only backup C.

We have Gload, who barely got any AB's against LHP last year as our only LH bench guy (not counting the C) and Mayberry who you want to matchup with LHP as much as possible. Not much flexability there.

With this current makeup of the team and the 5 man rotation, it makes SO much sense to keep a 6th bench guy this year. I just see no reason to keep a 12th pitcher. None at all.

Saying it was a bad contract is not a criticism. It's just a fact.

Whether Gillick should have foreseen all these problems, & let Lidge sign elsewhere, is a whole different debate. Lidge certainly carried some red flags but, then again, he was also coming off a perfect season, still had great stuff, wasn't terribly old, & didn't have much of an injury history at the time. And, it no doubt also crossed Gillick's mind that, the year before Lidge arrived, the closer's spot was such a massive problem for us that we had to convert our No. 2 starter to a closer. So, on the whole, I don't really fault him for deciding that the big contract to Lidge was worth the risk.

But I'm damn sure not going to say that the contract turned out to be just swell.

I think some of you a are confused about the timing of Lidge's extension.

He was given the extension DURING the 2008 season, not after it. He had not yet completed his "perfect" season.

How could Lidge's contract be the "Phillies’ worst misallocation of resources in recent memory", when you need only go back to when he signed the extension to see Adam Eaton on the same team?

Even if you assume we get absolutely no contribution from Lidge this year (which I don't assume), we still got a couple of outstanding months out of him last year and 5 postseason saves the past 2 years (you can blame the '09 WS if you want, but we don't beat the Rockies in the NLDS without him that year too), which is way more than you can say for Eaton.

You're all welcome to continue to dance around it, but considering Charlie's bullpen management, Brad Lidge being on the shelf is the best thing that could possibly happen to this ballclub.

What could this team have done with an OF of Victorino/Bourn/Werth and 37.5 million to spend plus to mention the money spent on Ibanez that wouldn't have been necessary...

Since it's nearly Opening Day, when hearts should be light, let me try and put a positive spin on this - at least for the '11 season. What if Lidge comes back, even after the break, and is effective? Not only effective, but fresh. That was a hidden benefit to Madson's chair-kick last season. He came back ready to go and with low mileage going into the latter part of the season.

Lidge was perfect in '08, but his track record prior to the season did not merit a deal that large.

With Utley and Lidge out until the All-Star break, things aren't looking so go in Mudville.

Yes it was a bad deal....but 48 for 48 and the lasting memory of that nasty slider to get Hinske and send the city into a baseball frenzy. Without lidge, we probably don't experience that. Thanks Lidgeypoo- always to be remembered as lights out lidge

Zudok -- Lidge is near "bone on bone" (multiple "cleanout" surgeries) on his push off knee, and has had cortisone shots in his pitching elbow. When a torn labrum is heaped into that stew, not much cooking is necessary.

I really like the bullpen of Contreras, Madson, Baez, Herndon and Bastardo (all healthy arms; fingers crossed on Bastardo) with Stutes and Mathieson in the wings. Heck even good “old” J.C. Romero has thrown strikes this spring. Oddly, the only wasted bullpen spot on the 25 man appears to be Kendrick. IMHO, KK is an odd duck – especially in the bullpen – with no out pitch and a propensity for getting hammered at a moment’s notice.

When Kendrick gets in trouble as a starter early in the game, he appears to thrive on the possibility of a low pitch count and the promise of clean innings to come – how else can you explain his success? Regardless he’s got fine numbers for a 5th starter. I'm still really puzzled why no one has reached out to the Phils and traded for his 35-24 won/loss and 4.69 lifetime ERA, mostly as a starter. Fer crissake, the Yankees signed Freddie Garcia as their 5th starter? Insane. Kendrick is young, cheap, under control and durable (wait... maybe that's why we're keeping him!).

What a shame, Lidge not only did a great job in the 2008 WC year, he was a good guy, never complaining about his problems since, of which there have been many.

I have been concerned about his loss of velocity since last year, wondering how he would overcome that. My guess, pure Phillies pessimistic, glass half empty style, is that he is pretty much cooked for good. Would be a HUGE bonus if he contributes at all this year, and planning for anything else will likely lead to heartache and churning stomachs.

"Without lidge, we probably don't experience that"

Given the same number of incredible plays to save their ass that Lidge got in '08, a league average relief pitcher could've adequately filled the role of 2008 Phillies closer.

The "perfect season" nonsense was a lot of luck, smoke and mirrors. His 2008 and 2010 WHIP is identical.

When Lidge is good, he's pretty good (but not great). When Lidge is bad, he's horrendous. Certainly not worth giving up a promising young inexpensive CF and $37 million dollars.

What is up with Herndon being up for consideration on our ML roster? I was told the reason we were suffering through Herndon's presence last year was because the Phils thought he could be a good sinkerball starter, like D. Lowe.

So the Phils were going to send him down to AAA to stretch him out as a starter and work on his stuff.

Now, he's up for consideration to make the team as the last reliever in the bullpen and the whole Herndon experience was for what....to get one extremely marginal guy on the roster that you probably could've picked up in FA for 1 mil or less?

By the end of 08 it was a little bit of a smoke and mirrors with Lidge, but he was a major part of that WFC team. Take him out, I don't think they win it.

Lidge got the extension in July of 08, not after the season. At the time, he was unhittable and we were looking ahead to the fact that closers were getting ridiculously large contracts in Free Agents. There was no way to predict that the FA market would completely crash in Dec 08 or that Lidge would completely implode. And Madson wasn't the Madson who was throwing 96-97 mph yet...he didnt really start to do that till the final stretch run of 08.

the 7-9th inning of Romero-Madsen-Lidge was amazing in the playoffs in '08. Good luck to Lidge, hopefully he's not using a scooter to get around in his mid-50's.

We get to pay Lidge $1.5 million next year NOT to play for us...assuming we buy out his option for 2012.

FWIW, here is Lidge's line on the morning of July 6th, 2008 (when he signed the extension)

35 G, 35 IP, 2-0, 19 Saves, 3 ER, 15 BB, 47 SO, 0.77 ERA, .167 BAA, 12.09 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 3.13 K/BB

In other words, pretty freaking good.

If only we could turn back the sun dial to July, 2008 and change a couple deals.

"It means that this Phillies closer could suffer the same fate as the former closer, Gordon, who appeared in 34 injury-plagued, barely remembered games during the team’s championship season, a stage when every good inning felt like a bonus."


JW, let's just hope we experience deja vu in 2011, with Lidge appearing in

"...34 injury-plagued barely remembered during the team's championship season...".

SI's John Heyman predicts the Phillies will miss the playoffs with Colorado over Texas in the WS. Spring training has been rough, but gee whiz. I guess it's fashionable to be Phillies haters.

"It would be foolish not to consider the risks and look back two years from now and cringe at how stupid we sounded. He’s been hurt. He was demoted to the seventh and eighth inning in Houston. Relief pitching is mostly a crapshoot. Let it be known that his extension comes at a time when he’s pitching for a contract, and pitching the best ball of his life." -Jason Weitzel on July 6, 2008

Good comment, JW.

NEPP- in your mocking of people for over-hyping Rizzotti, I think you are confusing Beerleaguer for Phuture Phillies. I think he's only ever mentioned hopefully here as a future bat off the bench (a poor man's Ross Gload?) or maybe some trade-bait for a middle reliever.

ozark - the media hyped them up so high after the Lee signing that the cool, contrarian story became tearing them down and hyping the Braves. Typical media- sports, politics, entertainment or otherwise.

Maybe Heyman believes in the SI cover jinx.

I know we like to be cocky with the Fab 4 in the rotation, but there's a distinct possibility this team doesn't make the playoffs. The offense simply isn't good without Utley and Werth. Run support is needed. Just ask Felix Hernandez.

I understand why Gillick did the deal at the time but he really didn't get any kind of price discount. Lidge also had a fairly lengthy medical history already at the point having real issues with his right knee and several other medical issues including major surgery on his right shoulder.

It was a bit of a gamble and one that turned out to be against the Phils. Got less value out of the extension than they did the Gordon deal.

As for '09, the Phils won in spite of Lidge that year and not because of him. He had one of the worst seasons by a reliever in the post WWII era.

Best-case scenario is that the Phils can get what they got out of Gordon after the ASB in '07. Gordon's return (along with 'Gas Can' Geary) really strengthened a mediocre bullpen and Cholly used the combo of Geary/Gordon/Romero/Myers with great results the last 6 weeks of the season. Without them, they don't sniff the playoffs.

JBird, that's a distinct possibility. There's so much bleedover between both sites, its hard to keep track sometimes.

Carson - Without Utley and Lidge for the entire year, yes that is a real possibility. If they win 90 games, they are in. If they win only say 88 games, they will be home. Margin will be that small like it was in '07/'08 when this team went down to the wire before making the playoffs.

I still like their chances to make the playoffs but give them a 50-60% chance or so of winning the NL East right now.

"I know we like to be cocky with the Fab 4 in the rotation, but there's a distinct possibility this team doesn't make the playoffs. The offense simply isn't good without Utley and Werth. Run support is needed. Just ask Felix Hernandez."

There's a possibility anyone can't make the playoffs. There's a possibility that neither the Yanks nor the Sawx make the playoffs from the AL East this year. Not a good one, but a chance nonetheless.

I just object to the "sky is falling" meme and the comparison to the Mariners. The 2010 Mariner offense was historically, historically inept. The 2011 Phils offense might not be good. It might be average. But comparing it to the 2010 Mariners is ludicrous.

Nearly every position player on our team for 2011 is better offensively than his 2010 Mariners counterpart with the exception of RF (Ichiro). CF, LF, 3B, SS, 2B, 1B, and C were all a black hole for the Mariners last year. We would have to fill our infield with Orr, Bocock, Barfield, and Bozied to have something even approaching Mariners 2010 level ineptitude.

Bay Area Phan is correct. The Lidge signing came during the 2008 season, not after it. Easy to look back after injuries and say the Phils made a mistake...what would your post been had Lidge signed w/another team after his perfect season? "The Phillies are Cheap and Not Committed to Winning". You can't have it both ways. I applaud the Lidge extensions...it's the same thing both the Yankees and the Red Sox would have done. Welcome to the Big Leagues!

"You can't have it both ways. I applaud the Lidge extensions...it's the same thing both the Yankees and the Red Sox would have done."

Like when Pedro and Jason Bay wanted too much money and the Sox let them walk away rather than overpay?

Heather - from previous thread, never overpay for saves!

Bay & Pedro weren't coming off the best seasons of their lives.

a few good spurts? really? i mean, cmon now. the guy basically was the main or 2nd main reason we won the freakin world series. that's a stupid remark. stupid

Neitehr was Lidge...he was coming off 3 great months at the time of the signing and his two previous full seasons had not been all that impressive. It was a big roll of the dice that failed.

The $37Mil reward to Brad was worth every penny...
Thanks to lidge, everytime someone calls me I get to hear Harry call that 0-2 pitch...

No Heather...like when the Yankees re-upped A-Rod and Rivera rather than risking losing them, only to go on and beat the Phils in the World Series. Or the Red Sox keeping Gagne, Ramirez and Beckett to win the 2007 Worls Series. What has Beckett done since then? Nothing....was that a bad signing? To win, you need to take chances. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I guess you prefer the cost conscious Phillies of the '90's.

Let's not confuse a torn labrum with a posterior rotator cuff strain. The labrum is the socket part of the "ball and socket" joint that is the shoulder. It does not heal well because it is bone and cartilage.

A posterior rotator cuff strain is something that any of us who decide to throw a fastball after a few weeks of rest could experience. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles around the shoulder joint. The most common muscle that becomes strained is the posterior one, mostly because the stronger muscles are in the front.

So yes, Lidge and the Phillies will be cautious with a torn - even slightly torn - muscle of the throwing arm. But let's not get carried away. If he comes back properly rehabbed, this could be a blessing.

Will S: "Certainly not worth giving up a promising young inexpensive CF and $37 million dollars."

Actually, he was worth the inexpensive CF exponentially to another exponential power.

The $37M he earned after that is what is now in hindsight considered a lost decision.

"Bay & Pedro weren't coming off the best seasons of their lives"

Bay was coming off a 5.0 WAR year (his best was 5.6) and Pedro was coming off a 5.7 WAR year (for sake of comparison, Hamels put up 3.8 WAR last year.) These guys were not scrubs by any stretch of the imagination when the Sox let them go. They just thought they didn't represent good investments in terms of risk/reward.

This wouldn't be a lightning rod of controversy if all parties step back and acknowledge that Brad Lidge 2008 was earned in a trade and Brad Lidge 2009-2011 was earned by awarding him $37M. There are two different commodities here, they just happen to be the same player.

"To win, you need to take chances."

Agreed. But there's a difference between taking a chance and betting everything on Red 23. Giving a long term multi-year deal to a closer is betting everything on Red 23.

Find me a long term deal for a closer in the last 10 years with the exception of Rivera where the closer has provided anything close to the value of what he was paid.

Lidge makes $12M this year. The Phils payroll is +$160M. At best, the Phils "bet" 7.5% of their bankroll. Not sure I call that putting "everythiin on red".

'Lidge makes $12M this year. The Phils payroll is +$160M. At best, the Phils "bet" 7.5% of their bankroll. Not sure I call that putting "everythiin on red".'

I never said that. The bet on Lidge was "everything on red 23" because its so unlikely high $ multi-year deals for closers work out.

I never said anything about the entirety of the Phils payroll.

Not only was Lidge excellent in 2008 but his arrival allowed Manuel to put Myers back in the rotation. No way we win the WS without that trade.

Re-signing him certainly looks bad in hindsight, but what if the contract gave him peace of mind and improved his performance the rest of 2008, even slightly? Who knows.

Heather-Trevor Hoffman? Heath Bell? Smoltz? Isringhausen? No closer's deal is going to look good b/c they pitch so few innings, but that's the market. That's why the save stat is stupid. If MLB was smart they'd change the save stat to include earlier innings. If you can blow a save before the 9th, you should get a save before the 9th too. It'd devalue the stat to about what it's probably worth, on par with holds.

well however you want me to disagree with your analogy, considered it disagree'd with.

It wasn't "putting everything on red". It was a calculated risk. Sometimes you need to overpay to either keep or bring in new talent. That's what championship teams do...you must prefer the fiscally conservatives Eagles. Looking back, sure, a shorter contract would have been better, but the market dictated 3 years at $37 mil.

Howard: How dare you, you know the Eagles are the "Gold Standard" of the NFL. (sarcasm)

It's a shame really. Nobody was more excited than myself that the Phils locked up Lidge when they did. But his past two seasons backed up a feeling that I have always had that unless it's Mariano Rivera, I would just as soon never give a big contract to a relief pitcher.

On Lidge:
In my memory, Lidge looked a little cooked at the end of '08. His saves were more nail-biters than lights-out as he would give up a hit or two then get some fly outs or a K. Early in his career he had a high 90's fastball, and even hit 100 once or twice. But those days are long gone.

On Closers in general:
It is hard to find one that is durable. We ask them to throw their arms off once every three games or so and eventually their arms do fall off. I don't think any team can ever stop looking for "the next closer". I'd prefer that my team would have two. You can alternate turns or go with the splits or something. Perhaps one legit closer and one apprentice.

Was Lidge one of the key guys responsible for winning the WS in 2008? Yes.

Was the Lidge signing a good one when it was made in 2008? Probably.

Has the Lidge contract worked out satisfactorily for the Phils? No.

Correct Shane...baseball has the closer position all wrong. Rarely does the closer perorm consistently well for more than 2 years..but it's an important position, so the market demands that you overpay. The nature of the position should change....closer by committe is probably more (economically) beneficial in the long term...but baseball is stuck in its ways.

People keep saying Lidge was signed after his perfect season. False. He was signed in July of his perfect season (as JW notes) with 2 and half months to go and no knowledge that it would be a perfect season.

Cipper,
I lost my Harry ring tone and have been unable to find anywhere. Where did you get it?

He won us a world series.... I don't care what anybody says, it was worth it.

Interesting NY Times article on "Aces".

"...baseball people tend to give no more than 13 active pitchers the title..."


3 of the 13 are current Phillies.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/sports/baseball/29pitching.html?_r=1

Hypothetically, let's say Lidge does come back in late July and is throwing well. Let's further say that Contreras has saved 18 of 21 games and is putting up good numbers across the board. Who's your closer? To me, it's not even a debatable point. It's Contreras. But I'd be happy to have Lidge back as a 7th inning guy.

Brian: Good point. Let's give him another $37.5M.

Clay:
Check the 93.3 WMMR website... thats where i originally got it... or was it 94.1 WYSP? One or the other... you sign up, get access, get the ringtone sent to your phone or email to download and put on your phone.

Brian states the oft-repeated mantra: We won a WS with him so whatever the cost, no matter what, it was worth it.

This is the same logic as "We might've traded all our best prospects for X and then doomed ourselves to 40 years of non-contention, but X won us a WS so it was worth it."

Clay...fyi, the Phillies will be a World Series contender for the life of Lidge's contract...and beyond. Do you too prefer the Eagles mo of mediocrity?

clout: Not to mention that we would have won the same 2008 World Series with or without the $37.5M extension that didn't kick in until 2009.

awh, the best part of that link is the pic of Jennie Finch. She's still smoking hot...

Schweitzer- you keep topping yourself.

Is there anything Lidge could do to warrant his extension worthwhile?

I think so. If he comes back and saves a number of playoff games without blowing any and we win the WS, then he earned every penny and JW will have to wear his Baez jersey with a lidge cleat in his mouth.

But thats a pretty longshot that even the biggest lidge-lovers couldn't bet on.

BAP: Exactly.

Part of the reason that guys like Halladay and Lee have been dying to come here is that guys like Lidge and Howard got treated fairly and rewarded for performing well. Maybe more than fair, really, but still, you don't create an atmosphere that players want to be a part of when you're nickel-and-diming guys who have carried the team at times.

clout - Yup. Lidge would have been here in the postseason in '08 regardless of whether he signed or not.

You could argue that his impending free agency might have affected his performance in the 2nd half & postseason.

Lidge was unhittable in the 1st half of '08 and even in the 2nd half he was still very good. Just look at his K/9, K/BB, and xFIP numbers.

I still wonder to a degree what reaggravating his right knee injury during the pile celebration in the WS effected him that offseason. Lidge admitted after that fact that he heard a 'pop' and that affected his offseason workout & mechanics the following spring in '09.

Totally lost amidst all this Brad Lidge and closer discussion: Cholly announced that Francisco is the right fielder. There will be no platoon.

krukker, you are correct. Casey Daigle is a lucky man!

Paying a high price for future results based largely upon sentimentality is a great way to run a business into the ground.

Iceman, topping or abasing?

One last thought:

Phils have had to pay large price tags for a host of relievers with very mediocre/shoddy results primarily because of their inability to develop capable relievers.

Condrey, Geary, and Madson are really the only guys that have come through their system the last several years who have contributed in a meaningful way at the MLB level.

Anyone who watched Lidge in '08 knows he was far from "perfect." The bottom line is that he got the job done every time he was asked to do so. It's hard to argue with the results. But to argue that he was "perfect" and unbeatable all season long is revisionist history.

In my opinion, Lidge was in the perfect place at the perfect time to get his extension. The '08 offseason bore very few top flight closers and/or reliable relievers; Mathieson (the top arm in the organization to close and/or set up at the time) was nowhere near ready; and Madson was not ready for the transition to the closer role in Phillies' eyes. The market dictated what Lidge got. Lidge, when healthy, is a top closer -- I don't think there is any debating that. The header is dead on: the Phils gambled that he would stay healthy and lost. It happens.

"Paying a high price for future results based largely upon sentimentality is a great way to run a business into the ground. "

There was a similar quote by Rube regarding PtB after the WFC, I think.

In other news...

Ol' papa Moyer will be doing some analyzing for Baseball Tonight according to Murph. Too bad as I hate Basebal lTonight and would much rather watch the MLB network then any crap ESPN produces.

The Lidge contract was silly and stupid based on his age and history. Lidge was no Mariano Rivera, Heath Bell, or Trevor Hoffman. He had good years interspersed with bad years, not a history of absolute dominance.

And I don't buy the argument that amounts to "Well, everyone else is overpaying closers, so we had to as well." No, you need a stable of decent arms and figure out who looks good that year, and a manager who doesn't need assigned bullpen roles because he uses them like a crutch.

"Ol' papa Moyer will be doing some analyzing for Baseball Tonight according to Murph. Too bad as I hate Basebal lTonight and would much rather watch the MLB network then any crap ESPN produces."

Cool! If they let him actually say what he thinks, he might have some great insights. He's always seemed like a very smart guy.

OTOH, he's always seemed like a "nice" person so he might not want to say, on air, anything negative about a guy...which, IMHO can preclude hard-hitting analysis.

(All this could be moot, however, as I don't know the extent to which the "analysts" on ESPN are allowed to come up with whatever they want vs. they have a script they more or less have to follow.)

"Too bad as I hate Basebal lTonight and would much rather watch the MLB network then any crap ESPN produces."

Also, is it just me, or is MLB Network getting crappier and crappier? Their most common analysts toward the end of last year were Mitch Williams, Harold Reynolds, Billy Ripkin, and Eric Byrnes (going off of my memory.)

Eric Byrnes is a moron (or at least he plays one on TV), Mitch and Harold have an occassional gem but mostly don't say much of substance, and Billy Ripkin SEEMS like he could do good analysis if he wanted to, but ends up just kind of toe-ing the line and being Mr. Bland.

The only person I've really liked on there recently has been Gammons, because he's overall not afraid to call it like it is...but it seems like Gammons is on a lot less than he used to be.

Good news for BenFran. He's definitely earned his shot. Now he just has to keep it.

If he can give us a career year (hey, it happens), we might just have a good offense.

Also, the Lidge trade was a fantastically brilliant move. It won us a WS. We never win that WS without Lidge closing and Myers starting.

Overall, it was a win-win move as Houston got a very good young CF who blossomed in a starting role he likely never would have gotten in Philly.

The extension was a mistake in hindsight but it wasn't exactly reviled at the time as Lidge got market price in the midst of a historic season by a reliever.

Heather: I tend to agree with you about bullpen roles, If the heart of the order is coming up with men on and nobody out in the 7th inning, I think you should use your best reliever then, not save him for the 7-8-9 hitters in the ninth. On the other hand, show me the bullpen success stories to back it up. The only team I remember even trying it was the Red Sox maybe 5-ish years ago and it was a disaster. They quickly switched back...yes, I'm playing on both sides of the fence.

I like Gammons, but he has a definite fixation with the Red Sox (yes I know why, but he's not being paid by the Globe when he's on MLB Network or back when he was on ESPN). I stopped reading him because everything he wrote was about the team in Boston and Pearl Jam.

JBird: Gammons is pretty good about it. Yeah, he obviously lives in Boston and has a long history with the Sox--so he's going to write or talk more about them. But I think he should. Reporters and writers should discuss what they know best. And Gammons has always been nothing but complimentary and fair about pretty much every other team at times, including the Phils.

Stark is just as bad with his Phillies-focus, but I'm guessing no one here really minds.

JBird: The 2008 Rays got to the World Series and had the best record in baseball without a real closer. Percival had the most saves, but they were mostly in the first couple months of the season. After the All-Star Break, the Rays pretty much went by matchups.

Bottom line: every GM has to take risks. Some work out; some don't. So, it's sort of silly to pick out one move that didn't work out & use the benefit of hindsight to say that it wasn't a risk worth taking. You've got to judge a GM by his entire body of work.

The flip side, however, is that it's also silly to declare that, since the move might have looked prudent at the time, and since Lidge helped us win a WFC before his extension even took effect, we're, therefore, prohibited from saying that the extension turned out badly.

MG: Actually Condrey did not come thru the Phillies system, giving your point even more emphasis.

Condrey was acquired from the Padres.

BAP, I think people tend to look at these things in a vacuum as well. Heather, who thinks the contract *was* silly and stupid is wrong (even if the contract is now silly and stupid, which it probably is), doesn't mention that we didn't think there was anyone that would be able to fill the position internally, that IIRC the only notable closer rumored to be a free agent at the time was K-Rod (who ended up signing for essentially the same amount, which at the time seemed like a good thing for the Mets), or other factors. Would she have extended Lidge for $10M a year? $8M a year? Not at all? Any of these positions, if taken during the summer of 2008, while potentially the better option, would have been look upon very skeptically.

Anyway, I'm not really sure why folks are attacking those who are saying that it is a bad contract. It is a bad contract. A very bad one. It just doesn't necessarily mean it *was* a bad signing. Even if it *is*. You know what I mean?

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