Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Say Hello To The Brad Lidge Contingency Plan

The Phillies announced this afternoon that they have agreed to terms with relief pitcher Danys Baez on a two-year contract worth a reported $5.25 million.

Unless you're a hardcore baseball fan, or play fantasy baseball, odds are, you may not have ever heard of Baez. And that's okay, here is your background info - Baez pitched last season for the Orioles in strictly a middle-relief role. He has however, been a closer in the past (nothing full-time since 2005). Now certainly, nobody is going to confuse Baez with an All Star, but he's not terrible either.

In a nutshell, Baez is really nothing more than a reliever with an ERA around 4.00. And while I say "nothing more than.." that may not be the case for the 2009 Phillies. Baez could be the guy who steps in if Brad Lidge can't get his head straight. He is the only other guy currently on the roster who has extended experience closing games.

But let’s hope things don’t come to that. Assuming Lidge gets the crazies out of his head, this move could really just signal that Chan Ho Park is a stubborn man and Baez is the one to take on his vacated duties. Park has stated he wants to be a starter (and paid like one) and therefore was not retained by the Phils. They had left the door open for his return should he come to his senses and realize nobody is going to sign him to start. Instead, it looks like the door is being closed as Baez walks through.

No matter what Baez ends up doing - at least the Phillies were smart and didn’t pay twice as much for Fernando Rodney like the Angels did. LA will realize soon enough that Rodney isn't nearly as good as his 37 of 38 save conversions from 2008 lead you to think he may be. In fact, from a statistical standpoint, Baez is a superior baseball player and the Phils managed to land him at an even better deal. So there.

Go Phils!

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