1. The Phils couldn’t have done any better. Considering what was available on the free agent market (very little) and what Gillick was willing to part with (not much) this is a pretty good deal. Brad Lidge was once one of the game’s premier closers and has shown that he still can be.
The most important thing about this trade is that the Phillies dealt three guys with little potential for one guy with HUGE potential.
Who knows? Michael Bourn may one day be a star, but the best case scenario has him morphing into Juan Pierre, while the more realistic scenario has him becoming the next Endy Chavez.
I don’t know much about 3B prospect Mike Costanzo, but here’s what Baseball America has to say about him, via http://phuturephillies.com/category/players/mike-costanzo/:
He earned comparisons to Russell Branyan for his prodigious lefthanded power and erratic play at third base, where he committed 34 errors.
Costanzo evokes Branyan also for his strikeouts (157 in 508 at-bats), and his grooved swing will continue to produce holes that pitchers at advanced levels can exploit. He has the athletic ability to adjust and the raw power to hit homers even without squaring up the ball, but he must show the ability to make more adjustments and lay off pitches he can’t hit.
Defensively, Costanzo has the tools to play third, most notably a plus arm. But he has yet to make the adjustments that would make him an average defender. He lacks consistent footwork, and scouts question his agility and infield actions.
Not an inspiring description.
Finally, there’s Geoff Geary, who was shuttled between the bigs and the minors last season. He’s a back of the bullpen guy. A throw in. Whatevs.
2. Philadelphia is a tough place to pitch. If you’re not nervous about Brad Lidge’s mental makeup, than you must know something I don’t. If Lidge thought pitching in Houston was tough, wait until he gets to Philadelphia. Lidge is going to need to get off to a good start, or he might not last long.
3. More work to be done? More good news today, as the Philly Inquirer reports that the team is close to resigning setup man J.C. Romero. Romero was a force for the Phils down the stretch last season.
Romero went 1-2 with a 1.24 ERA in 51 appearances last season for the Phillies, who signed him to a minor-league contract after the Boston Red Sox released him.
So that’s welcome news.
But how? Certainly, Hamels and Myers are locks. Kendrick went 10-4 with a 3.48 ERA last season. I don’t see how the Phillies can keep him out of the 2008 rotation. Moyer is as valuable for his consistency — he was the only Phillies starter who didn’t miss a start in 2007 — as he is for his leadership.
That leaves Eaton, who the Phillies would desperately love to replace, but who they’re probably stuck with. Eaton has two more years and $16 million left on his contract, so he’s not trade bait. And he’s probably not a good bullpen candidate either, as a recent commenter pointed out.
If Gillick is going to further improve Philly’s rotation, he’s going to have to work some more magic. But if anyone can do it…
4. Who will play center field for the Phillies? It’s either going to be Aaron Rowand or Shane Victorino. Or, you know, somebody else. But my money is on Victorino. If Rowand leaves via free agency, the Flying Hawiian can shift to center and Jason Werth can play right, with Pat Burrell remaining in left. A lot of people will look at that outfield and feel uninspired, but they don’t know what many Phillies fans have come to believe: Jason Werth is the real deal. He’ll be a big contributor in 2008.
5. What does this mean for Houston? As the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, this trade reunites GM Ed Wade with three guys he drafted. So, there’s that. And then there’s the theory that this trade will give Houston the financial flexibility to chase a big name pitcher. Houston Chronicle blogger Jose de Jesus Ortiz has his own theory about who the team should target:
Heck, this trade and the payroll flexibility they have makes me think they have a real shot at acquiring Dontrelle Willis, whom they have inquired about.
Good luck with that one, Ortiz. Willis has been on fire of late.