Reports are Brad Lidge hurt the knee that he had surgery on last season. While there’s no word yet on the extensiveness of this “issue,” it’s a clear shot right to the left foot of the Phillies front office.
If Lidge is out for any considerable amount of time (I’m thinking a week of the 2008 season), the Phillies can’t afford it. The relief depth is low on Major League experience, and of the experience, three are injury concerns (Lidge, Gordon, Madson) and one has a very shaky past (Romero). It’s not a good situation.
It’s a clear comment on the Phillies offseason plan. Instead of buying some low-cost relief options (David Riske was always on my radar), they sat pat on the bullpen, claiming they improved it by grabbing Lidge. Instead, they moved lateral, removing one piece (Myers) for another (Lidge). They also removed Geoff Geary and gained Shane Youman. Bottom line: The Phillies made absolutely no improvements on last season’s bottom-feeding relief staff.
Now there’s potential for the Phillies to walk into Opening Day with Tom Gordon as closer. Again. Who’s option No. 3? Romero? Myers again? It’s unacceptable.
The Phillies can salvage any potential problems by buying some of the low-cost free agents remaining. Bob Wickman, Armando Benitez, Antonio Alfonseca and Akinori Otsuka come to mind. None are completely reliable (as we saw with Alfonseca), but they represent able bodies that can do a little work late in games and â€” most importantly â€” have experience. You can’t toy around with youth late in games.
The other option is signing a free-agent starter and moving Myers back to the bullpen (making Lidge the setup man if he isn’t injured badly). Who’s available? Well, Kyle Lohse, for one. And my favorite: Bartolo Colon.