It makes me feel so proud that the Philadelphia Phillies took my advice and made the move to put 256-game winner Jamie Moyer into the bullpen. Well, there may have been a few other “experts” who chimed in to GM Ruben Amaro, but I’m not going to waste my time to try and figure out who they are. I’m moving on to my next bold decision for the organization:
Shut down Brad Lidge.
I mean it. Don’t even relegate him to to mop-up duty. Sit him out for the rest of the season and let him return in 2010 for a chance to win another Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs saw Lidge blow his seventh save of the year and raise his ERA to 7.29… seven point two nine. His ERA in the perfect 48 for 48, 2008 season? 1.95.
Manager Charlie Manuel said this about Lidge after the game, “He's our closer. We've got to get him through this”. Would it be too much to ask to take care of this in the off-season? He has been horribly inconsistent since opening day. It’s most likely not going to change. Brett Myers is very close to making rehab starts, thus coming back to the club hopefully very soon. With Myers, the Phillies now have another proven closer, who took on, and thrived in the role in 2007.
In 1993, Phillies manager Jim Fergosi used closer Mitch Williams in Game 6 of the World Series, even though he blew an easy six run lead in Game 4 and took months of every Phillies fan’s life throughout that season with his high wire act. Starter Ben Rivera, who had not been used during the Series, was ready and available. No, he opted for Williams because, “he’s the guy that got us here”. We remember how that turned out. I’m afraid we are entering the same territory here. They already made a big decision this week in Moyer. They might as well make two. Shut him down. He is WAY too much of a liability. Until Myers returns, let Chad Durbin close. Let Ryan Madson close. Let anyone else in the bullpen close. Lidge got the Phils there last year, and fans will always be in debt to him for that magical season and his unbelievable performances. Unfortunately, what has he done for them lately?… Always Be Closing.
Speaking of Moyer, he wasn’t too thrilled about his move to the Phillies’ bullpen this week. He spoke to reporters before Tuesday’s game in Chicago (where he started his baseball career) and repeatedly mentioned how he was “misled” and even though he’s “disheartened” and “really not happy/not real excited” about this decision, he doesn’t want to be a “distraction” to his teammates. I get where he’s coming from and it’s a hard pill to swallow, but he is still on the team. He will have another chance to make the playoffs. What really got me was this quote from Moyer:
“I feel like I’ve played this game long enough that the respect factor should be there.”
NOW he plays the seniority card. This is a man who tries his best to deflect any attention to his age, but when things don’t go his way, he decides to pull out his cane and shake it at those damn kids. I respect Moyer on all fronts: his amazing baseball knowledge, his incredible professionalism, and his inspirational off-field charity work. But this is a numbers game. He leads the team in wins, but he gives up too many runs. The offense must always be ready to score a bucketful of runs when he takes the mound. The Phillies showed Moyer a lot of respect this off-season by signing a soon-to-be 47-year old to a two year/$13 million extension. He got that respect. He should now respect the opinions of his employer.
And with that, let’s bring on Pedro…
Last night, Pedro Martinez made his Phillies (and 2009) debut against the Cubs. He wasn’t dazzling, but solid enough to notch his first victory. His line:
5 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K
He got himself into a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth, but escaped only giving up two runs. Aided by an offensive explosion, the Phillies won the game 12-5.
As many times I watch these highlights, the sight of Pedro in a Phillies uniform is absolutely surreal. We’ll see how this little experiment pans out…
About the Author
Written by Bryan Sargent
Bryan Sargent is a lifelong Phillies fan, currently residing in the least hospitable city for such a person as himself, New York City. This coming January he will be attending Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, FL. He is currently documenting the entire process on his blog (http://www.bryansargent.com). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @BTSargent.