The Phils guaranteed themselves another 86-win season by signingCory Lidle to a two-year contract today.
Lidle, ever the second-half pitcher, fooled the Phils with 5-2 record and 3.90 ERA in the ten starts after he was acquired last season. Of course, he was 7-10 with a 5.32 ERA with the Reds before the trade. Here are his monthly splits over the last three seasons:
Lidle has been through four organization in the last three years and has registered a 5.00+ ERA with two of those organizations. Then again he has won at least 12 games in three of the last four years. So maybe I'm being a bit too hard on the feller.
Let's assume that he's a decent number-three starter. OK, so isn't that how you'd describe Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla? Then there are the failed prospect Brett Myers, who's probably now a long reliever, and promising youngsters, Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd, both of whom deserve a shot in the rotation.
So where does that leave us? Mediocrity, just like last year, unless the youngsters vault ahead and the others finally fulfill the potential that's eluded them for at least a season.
But the bottom line is that the Phils are free to turn their backs on free agents Kevin Millwood and Eric Milton. Their collective twenty million dollar salary in 2004 will be replaced with three mil for Lidle and league minimum for a rookie. If that means that the Phils are free to use that money to corral Carlos Beltran as Will Carroll suggested, that's fine. But more than likely it's going back into Dave Montgomery's vault while the Phils brass mew about being a small-market team.