The Phillies announced that they have declined the 2012 options for starter RHP Roy Oswalt and reliever RHP Brad Lidge. Instead of a $16MM option, Oswalt was bought out for $2MM, while Lidge received a $1.5MM buyout instead of a $12.5MM option.
The Phillies haven’t ruled out re-signing either pitcher, but if they are available, it wouldn’t hurt Sandy Alderson and his brain trust to kick the tires on both of them.
Talk had already circulated about Lidge, given the Mets void at closer. No one is going to pay him close to what would have been his 2012 salary given his recent injuries. He returned from rotator cuff surgery in 2011 and logged only 19.1 innings in 25 appearances. He was mostly effective, posting a 1.40 ERA and 23 strikeouts. However, his 13 BBs ballooned his WHIP to 1.50. If those numbers continue into 2012, you can expect lots of tightrope acts in the ninth inning, should he take on the closer role. He could also be used as a veteran eighth inning presence who can step in if the likes of Manny Acosta or Bobby Parnell falter in the closer’s role.
So, there are two key questions about Lidge that make him a risk: Will his shoulder last a full season, and can he be consistent enough to be the Mets’ closer or set-up man? But those risks will make him more affordable to a Mets team that’s hunting for bargains. Signing Lidge would be akin to last year’s signing of Chris Young.
Roy Oswalt is worth a look as well. He missed some time with back issues in 2011, but has averaged just under 200 innings per year in his career. Despite his injuries, his asking price will probably be a bit steep for the Mets at this point. If he remains a free agent until the latter part of the offseason, his price tag may drop enough to sign him. The Mets will also have to consider the fact that he is still a Type A free agent, who are hard to sign when you’re trying to rebuild your farm system from the draft up.
So, two more options for the front office to kick around. They’re not perfect, but the Mets will have to get creative this winter.