The Baseball Exchange

Astros Trade Lidge by 27yankees
November 7, 2007, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Baseball Strategy, MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday acquired Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge for righthander Geoff Geary, outfielder Michael Bourn and minor league third baseman Mike Costanza.

Philadelphia also received utilityman Eric Bruntlett.

Lidge, 30, went 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA and 19 saves for Houston in 2007. He averaged 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a 2.89 ERA in his final 53 appearances. Lidge has 452 strikeouts over the last four seasons – most of any reliever.

This trade signals a few things to me. First of all, if it wasn’t already apparent, it means that the Astros are officially trying to move into a rebuilding phase. Competitive teams don’t typically trade away a closer, even if it was a closer who was terrible a few years ago. Their acquisition of two prospects also signals something, which I will discuss later.

This signals that the Phillies might be willing to move Brett Myers back to the rotation (thankfully), because they have shored up that hole, and that they are also confident in a deal with Aaron Rowand or another free agent center fielder. Michael Bourn was expected to be their fallback strategy should they have failed to sign Rowand, so it would seem that they have confidence in signing him or another center fielder.

This move would look pretty good for both teams if Costanza hadn’t been included. A veteran reliever who has had dominant and not so dominant seasons and could probably use a change of pace, and a veteran utilityman in exchange for a young outfielder who is probably ready to be a starter and an above average veteran reliever. However, Costanza really tips the deal for me. There are several reasons for this. Both the Phillies and the Astros are somewhat lacking in terms of short term or long term solutions at third base. The Phillies combined Wes Helms and Abraham Nunez for by far their weakest position in their infield. The Astros had a struggling Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb, who leaves for free agency. Mike Costanza, though not an elite prospect, could be expected to be a strong starting third baseman in a few years and could really fill a hole for either team. This trade also helps the Astros fill holes in a very weak farm system; the Phillies have a weak farm system, too.

These facts tip this deal towards the Astros side and really leads me to believe that perhaps Ed Wade might know what he is doing.


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