Does Lidge Deal Still Look Good?
Mike Costanzo (Photo: Doug Benc/Getty)
Mike Costanzo (Photo: Doug Benc/Getty)
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Posted Apr 5, 2008


Early in the off-season, the Phillies shipped Mike Costanzo, Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary to Houston for Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett. Now, with Lidge set to come off the DL, is the deal still a good one for the Phillies?

It's much too early to truly judge an off-season deal, but with Brad Lidge set to come off the DL, it's a good time to look at the move that brought him to Philly. Lidge found himself in the trainer's room after just his second pitch in camp and wound up on the DL. He made a rehab appearance with Clearwater on Thursday - throwing one inning and giving up one run - and could be activated in time for Saturday's game in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, the Astros have a starting center fielder in Michael Bourn and a bullpen arm in Geoff Geary as part of the deal. Mike Costanzo was also part of the deal, but was spun off to Baltimore in the deal that brought Miguel Tejeda to the Astros.

It's unlikely that Costanzo would have made the Phillies club, but it's likely that they would have given him a long look in camp. What's not known is whether they would have signed Pedro Feliz if Costanzo was still in the picture. With Baltimore, Costanzo hit .282 this spring with two home runs and five RBI, but failed to make their club and was sent to Triple-A Norfolk. As usual, Costanzo is off to a slow start to the season, hitting just .111 (1-for-9) and has struck out five times in just nine at bats. No real need to worry, because Costanzo generally does get off to a slow start, but the strikeouts are a bit of a concern and it's something that the Phillies were a little unhappy with when Costanzo was in their organization. In reality though, Costanzo is likely to hit well enough that his strikeouts won't be an issue.

Geoff Geary was inconsistent in Philadelphia and never really settled into his role with the Phillies. In Houston, Geary has pitched in two games and has an identical line in each, throwing one perfect inning and striking out two per outing. Maybe the change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Geary.

The highlight of the deal for Houston may be Michael Bourn. Yes, he's off to a slow start offensively - hitting .133 (2-for-15) - but he's been an exciting player to watch and you have to remember that the sample sizes at this time of the season are much too small to truly consider. What you can look at though is the fact that Bourn has reached base six times and has three stolen bases without getting caught. The offense should come along and Houston may have a starting center fielder for some time to come.

So far, the Phillies have gotten a 1-for-1 pinch-hitting performance from Eric Bruntlett to show for the deal. They also got a bullpen meltdown from Tom Gordon, who is holding down (or trying to hold down) the closer's role on opening day while Lidge is rehabbing. There's no telling how Lidge would have responded in that situation, but you have to sincerely hope that it would have been better than what Gordon gave the Phillies.

We won't fully know about this trade until at least the end of the season. As it has always been, the big question mark in this deal is Lidge. Not only how healthy and effective he'll be, but will the Phillies be able to re-sign him - considering he has a good season - at the end of the year? If you're the Houston Astros, however, it's much easier to rate this deal even though the season has just begun. Lidge wasn't likely to be a trusted factor of the Astros bullpen this season, so in return, the Astros have a starting center fielder a reliever and Tejeda, who is there partly because of dealing Costanzo to Baltimore. The Orioles were pretty insistent on Costanzo being involved in the deal, so there's no saying whether or not the deal would have gotten done without Costanzo in Houston. Astros fans can be excited about what they received in exchange for Lidge and Bruntlett, while Phillies fans will have to sit and wait to gauge just how they feel about the deal until we finally get to see Lidge close out a game.




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