Standridge: The Phillies continued to add minor league inventory this
week with a pair of connected right-handers: Brandon Duckworth, 33, part of a tire-spinning teams
of the early decade, and Jason Standridge, a former Tampa Bay
first-round draft choice by then GM and current Phillies assistant GM
Chuck LaMar. As with many of these minor league signings, there's
nothing scientific behind these deals and no expectation of success.
Randy Miller reported the Phillies watched Duckworth and Standridge,
former Royals teammates, square off in a Dominican winter league game and were moved to sign them. [Link]
Duckworth's biggest contribution to baseball is that he helped the Phillies net Billy Wagner. He was able to ride the momentum of two, big strikeout seasons for a very long time, the first occurring in 2000 with Double-A Reading (a very entertaining season indeed), cementing his status as something of a prospect, the second over a full season in 2002. But since his 2004 trade to Houston, he's floated in and out of the bigs so many times it's hard to keep track. The Astros gave up on him in 2005 and he's spent the last four years languishing in Kansas City. Even there, he was unable to stick. The right-hander spent all of 2009 with Triple-A Omaha, going 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 20 games, all but one appearance as a starter. Clout offers his take:
"Duckworth is fine for the LV rotation. He's settled into a career as a Triple-A guy who can come up in an emergency and give you 6 or 7 mediocre 5-inning starts. He was originally an undrafted, no-stuff righty out of Cal State-Fullerton who looked like he could be a surprise when he went 8-9 in 2002 with a K/BB of 2.42. But his control and command reverted back to being terrible, a fatal flaw for a no-stuff pitcher. If his walk rate had been 1/9 instead of 4/9 and his HR rate 0.5/9 instead of 1.1/9, he might've been something. The Duck Pond was drained long ago."
Standridge, 31, turned a 1997 first-round nod by Tampa into a 12-year minor league career that includes stops in Japan and, most recently, Somerset of the independent leagues. He last appeared in four games with Kansas City in 2007. In parts of seven seasons between Tampa, Texas, Cincinnati and Kansas City, he's 3-9 with a 5.80 ERA.
Lidge goes under the knife: Nothing gets blown out of proportion more than if a pitcher is expected to be mildly behind schedule come spring training, especially when it comes to a team as seasoned as the Phillies. "Behind schedule" has been Brad Lidge's Clearwater calling card, and his third go-round feels a lot more like the first, en route to a perfect season, than the second, en route to disaster. Lidge underwent minor surgery on his knee last week after it flared up during his offseason workouts. His agent said it was "really next to nothing." If anything, it simply reinforces something we already knew: at this stage, the Phillies' closer is a fragile physical specimen at this stage of his career. Lidge pitched through a balky elbow and knee in 2009 and needed offseason surgery for both.What can you say; at least he was proactive about it in January rather than February. Games in April count just as much as September and yada-yada-yada. But April, to the Phillies, is basically an extension of spring training. Games are sloppy, rosters flimsy. If Lidge needs to sit the first two weeks, they won't miss him. A .500 April from this traditionally late-charging club would be a spectacular success.
Arbitration: As expected, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin and Carlos Ruiz formally filed for salary arbitration. You'll read more about where these negotiations are headed next week.
Programming note: Posting will be light for the next 18 years.