As expected, the Phillies have declined their 2012 team options on both Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge.
Instead of exercising his $16 million option the Phillies will give Oswalt a $2 million buyout and Lidge will get a $1.5 million buyout instead of a $12.5 million option.
In announcing the moves general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the Phillies will talk to both pitchers about returning at lesser salaries.
Lidge was limited to just 19 innings because of injuries and his raw stuff has declined significantly, but he still posted a 1.93 ERA and 23 strikeouts (along with 13 walks). Oswalt also missed time with back problems, but was plenty effective when healthy with a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio in 139 innings.
Lidge may have to settle for a one-year deal and an opportunity to perhaps fight for a closer job, but if Oswalt is committed to playing beyond 2012 he should be able to command a multi-year contract.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.