He did it again. Brad Lidge blew his
major-league leading 10th save on Saturday night against the Astros,
giving up a walk-off single to Kaz Matsui in a 5-4 defeat.
As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse pointed out,
his 10 blown saves are the most in the majors since 2006 when Ambiorix
Burgos had 12, Francisco Cordero and Huston Street had 11 and Jason
Isringhausen had 10. As for this season, the closest is J.P. Howell
Now 0-7 with a 7.15 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in 57 appearances, it sounds like manager Charlie Manuel is starting to lose patience with his struggling closer:
“What do I think of [Lidge’s blown save]? I think it’s baseball. I think that’s what you call command. I think that’s what
you call being able to throw the ball over the plate and put it where
you want it. I think it’s staying focused on what you’re doing — executing your pitches.”
Sure, the Phillies are waltzing
their way to another division title, but they can’t possibly count on
someone with a 7.15 ERA to lock down important outs in the post-season.
Enter Brett Myers?
Remember, Myers went 21-for-24 in
save opportunities while compiling a 2.87 ERA and 64/18 K/BB ratio out
of the closer role for the Phillies in 2007. Coincidentally, he tossed
a scoreless inning of relief against the Astros on Saturday night, his
first appearance since returning from hip surgery.
Though the scrutiny is sure to increase as the playoffs approach, Myers is saying all the right things:
“I’m just back there to help. I’m not there to take
While that may be true, Lidge isn’t doing much to keep his.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.