If people keep reminding Tim Purpura he has been on the job 14 months without acquiring a player of consequence, he's going to feel compelled to do something stupid.
Maybe that's why he offered Nomar Garciaparra $6 million. That's a lot of money for a player out much of the last two seasons with injuries.
Maybe that's also why there are reports Purpura would be willing to trade Brad Lidge.
If Purpura had signed Garciaparra, the next move should have been docking him a month's pay. If he trades Lidge, he should be fired.
Money is too tight to throw at a player with a history of breaking down. And trading Lidge would be so monumentally stupid, it's almost beyond discussion.
Sure the Astros need a hitter. Before they run out and get one, they'd better take stock of what they have.
Their bullpen is a strength. With Chad Qualls, Dan Wheeler and Lidge, they have the seventh, eighth and ninth innings taken care of on most nights.
Go ahead and get rid of one of baseball's best closers. Start watching the other guys try to do what he did. Pitching the eighth is different than pitching the ninth. Ask Octavio Dotel.
Truth is, a left-field platoon of Luke Scott and Chris Burke might be as productive as Garciaparra.
The Astros are still in transition. They still don't know how good Willy Taveras, Jason Lane and others are going to be. This season will be about them attempting to adjust to pitchers who have seen enough to exploit their weaknesses.
We may not know how good the likes of Burke, Scott, and Willy Taveras may be, but there are various projection systems that can give you a rough but decent idea. Despite the hype for Taveras, players like him historically don't generate a lot of value, and there's a real chance he could turn into a world-class outmaker. The upside for a guy like Taveras is that he adds enough points to his batting average that his low walk rate (25 in 592 at-bats) and lack of power (13 doubles) don't drag him down past the point of usefulness. The downside is too gruesome to contemplate, but on a good overall offensive team, you could maybe hide him for while he's a good fielder. In other words, the Yankees could have used him, but the Stros need to keep an open mind.
Still, the best bit of unintentional comedy is "Pitching the eighth is different than pitching the ninth. Ask Octavio Dotel." Why not ask Lidge himself? Who do you think was pitching the eighth inning while Dotel was struggling as the Astros' closer? The fact of the matter is that very few 80-inning-per-year pitchers are worth the kind of money that routinely gets thrown at guys who've claimed the vaunted "Closer" label. The Astros may not have gotten much for their trade of Billy Wagner, but dumping his salary made all kinds of sense. Brad Lidge is a heck of a pitcher, but he's sure to be overpaid very soon now. Flipping him for a bat would certainly be reasonable and may very well be a steal. Besides, that would mean a promotion for Chad Qualls, and it'd be worth it to see Lair do the Happy Dance. Saying that the idea of moving Lidge is beyond discussion is what's really stupid.
Justice can be a smart guy when he wants to, but efforts like this one remind me why I prefer to consume my serious sports news from other sources.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 26, 2005 to Baseball | TrackBack