Trading for Brad Lidge paves the way for Brett Myers to move back into the rotation, but don’t get too comfortable with that idea. No one else is.
This morning, Bill Conlin tantalized readers by proposing that Myers keep his job as closer and using newly acquired reliever Brad Lidge as his setup man. Both have had success in those roles and the best way to preserve wins at Citizens Bank Park is to miss bats, something Myers and Lidge can do better than any tandem in the league.
In a perfect world, Lidge blazes through the eighth and Myers slams the door in the ninth, finishing the job for a capable rotation. I've advocated Myers in relief for eight months. He’s a strike thrower with four power pitches, plus he loves doing it. Confidence is the name of the game in the life of a reliever.
But right now, the holes in the rotation outweigh that dream. Conlin didn't offer any suggestions for the rotation, which would be 40 percent incomplete if the season started today with Myers in the 'pen. Adam Eaton, who was the worst starter in the National League last season, just had an MRI on his shoulder and no one seems to know what's up.
What Conlin forgot to mention in his column is that it’s very early, a point I know he knows because he said so last night on Comcast Daily News Live. So before anyone rips Conlin, he knows the hot stove isn't even lukewarm yet. Every report suggests the Phils are still in aggressive pursuit of more pitching, and teams can only begin negotiating with outside players Monday. So Myers to the rotation is not etched in stone. Everyone that counts wants to keep him in the bullpen.
Besides pitching, other concerns continue to loom. The loss of Michael Bourn and possible exodus of Aaron Rowand means we could be stressing over outfield very soon. If Rowand departs, the Phils are left with Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Eric Bruntlett and Greg Dobbs. This is a below average group. Third base, penciled in as Wes Helms and Dobbs, is also below average. And catcher is not a position that will generate much offensively – another below average group for run production.
There is more outfield available than any other position this winter, whether it’s a platoon variety, like Geoff Jenkins, toolsy defenders, like Coco Crisp, fading stars, like Andruw Jones, or Far East sensations, like Kosuke Fukudome. And there are plenty of others. By shoring up the bullpen with a one-year rental in Lidge, the Phils may be better prepared to give Rowand the long-term deal he’s seeking, or get creative another way.
Adding Lidge was a good start, but it’s far too early to paint a clear picture of the 2008 Phillies.
Phillies reportedly close to re-signing J.C. Romero: Todd Zolecki of the Inquirer reported this yesterday and it sounds like it could happen in the next few days. The left-hander has been linked to a 3/$10M figure that keeps resurfacing in our thread; I don't remember where this originated.
If Romero doesn’t bother testing the market, it can mean one of two things: he loves Philadelphia, or the Phils are making a strong offer. The Phils were a disaster before Romero took over the LOOGY role. Their top fallbacks are Fabio Castro and Mike Zagurski. What price would you pay not to relive that nightmare again? If the Phils were to overpay on one area this winter, this might be it.