Things are no longer quiet with Michael Bourn’s market; Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that the Phillies are “past the tire-kicking stage” with the speedy center fielder.
Bourn to the Phillies became a popular rumor as soon as Shane Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers during the season, opening up a big hole in center field. Bourn opened his career with the Phillies before being dealt to Houston for Brad Lidge five years ago.
The Mariners appear to be the other team in on Bourn at the moment. Expectations are that he’ll want a deal bigger than the five-year, $75.25 million contract that B.J. Upton received from the Braves last month. The Phillies were one of the teams trying for Upton, but it’s believed they were offering less than $12 million per year.
Bourn, who turns 30 this month, hit .274/.348/.391 with nine homers and 42 steals for the Braves last season. He’s won two Gold Gloves for his play in center field, and he was deserving of another this year.
Brad Lidge, who sat out the remainder of the 2012 season after being released by the Nationals in June, has decided to retire, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports.
The 35-year-old Lidge had a 9.64 ERA in 9 1/3 innings before being let go by the Nationals. Battling both shoulder and elbow problems, he had seen his innings total decrease four straight seasons.
Lidge was incredible at his peak. In 2004, he finished with a 1.90 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings of relief for the Astros. Only three relievers have ever struck out more batters, and they all needed 130+ innings to get there (Dick Radatz in 1963 and ’64 and Mark Eichhorn in 1986). After Lidge, the highest strikeout total for a reliever in fewer than 100 innings is 141 (Rob Dibble, 1989).
Lidge also topped 100 strikeouts in 2005 and 2006. In 2008, he finished a perfect 41-for-41 saving games during the regular season and then added seven more October saves while closing out the World Series for the Phillies.
Unfortunately, Lidge’s most famous postseason moment was giving up a walkoff homer to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS. The Astros, though, bounced back to win that series, and Lidge was a stellar postseason pitcher overall, amassing a 2.18 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.
Lidge finishes his 11-year career with 225 saves, a 3.54 ERA and 799 strikeouts in 603 1/3 innings. It’s the second highest strikeout rate in major league history for a pitcher with at least 500 innings, with Billy Wagner barely beating him out (Wagner is at 11.920 K/9 IP, while Lidge comes in at 11.919).
Jason Motte had never had a two-inning save before the Cardinals asked him to get six outs in a two-run game after Wednesday’s long rain delay. Not only did he do the job, but he made it a breeze, retiring every Giant he faced as St. Louis won 3-1.
In so doing, Motte became just the second different National League reliever to record a two-inning save in the postseason in the last 10 years. Brad Lidge had three of them for the Astros between the 2004 and ’05 NLCSs, all of them against the Cardinals.
Motte was also the first pitcher since Mariano Rivera in the 2005 ALDS to go six up, six down in a postseason save chance. The last NL reliever to do it was Arizona’s Byung-Hyun Kim in the 2001 NLCS against the Braves.
But that’s all gravy. What the Cardinals care about is that Motte needed just 19 pitches to dispose of the Giants in Game 3, meaning he should be fine to go an inning in Game 4 if the need arises.