I Don’t Have Much of an Appetite, Thank You

Aram Tolegian passionately hates Brad Lidge.

You may recall a post from mid-February where I criticized Tolegian’s power rankings. Tolegian said of Phillies closer Lidge,

How any team can trust Brad Lidge to close is beyond us. But that’s assuming he’s even on the mound. Lidge had surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee in October. It goes without saying that this is something to watch in spring.

His updated power rankings were recently posted on FOX Sports and he snipes at Lidge again. He originally had the Phillies at #13 and knocked them down to #14 and dedicated almost the entire block of Phillies-related text to Lidge-bashing:

We warned about Brad Lidge in the last set of rankings, while scoffing at the Phils acquiring the troubled closer in the off-season’s biggest move. That led to some abuse in the blogosphere, before being proven right when the righty closer injured his knee early in spring. The problem with Lidge is that he’s seemingly always balancing between injury and incompetence. We know he’s injured, and there are still doubts he can close effectively for an entire season. Beside Lidge, the Phils left spring training in good shape. The opening week schedule features at trip to brand-new Nationals Park before a weekend visit at the Reds.

There’s so much wrong with the analysis, so we’ll take it piece by piece.

We warned about Brad Lidge in the last set of rankings

Yeah? You warned that his spike would get caught in the dirt on the pitcher’s mound? I don’t seem to recall that. Sure, you warned that his initial knee surgery wasn’t a guarantee to succeed, and that’s a legitimate concern. However, the recent injury in question had absolutely nothing to do with it and it was simply a freak injury. You did not “warn” anyone about this.

while scoffing at the Phils acquiring the troubled closer in the off-season’s biggest move.

Is a troubled closer someone who posts a 131 ERA+, a 1.254 WHIP, and an 11.8 K/9 rate? If that is your standard for a closer being troubled, I guess Francisco Cordero was troubled last season as well, as he posted similar though slightly better numbers.

Cite that Albert Pujols game-winning home run all you want as a cause for concern, it will never have any merit. That homer occurred in the 2006 NLCS, and he had a pretty good 2007 season. I don’t think being mentally anguished by a home run is something that skips a year, like Diabetes sometimes skips a generation.

That led to some abuse in the blogosphere

I don’t recall anyone else giving him credit for existing by criticizing his power rankings, so I’m assuming this refers to me.

It seems more and more journalists are taking the Fire Joe Morgan-style criticism like a war veteran treats bullet wounds: they wear the scars as a badge of honor.

Maybe Aram is simply writing this garbage so that bloggers like me link to and discuss his work. As they say, any publicity is good publicity.

The problem with Lidge is that he’s seemingly always balancing between injury and incompetence.

Aram’s definition of incompetence: Career 132 ERA+, 1.197 WHIP, 12.6 K/9 rate.

Lidge has never had injury problems until last season. He started pitching regularly in 2003 and logged at least 70 innings in every season until ’07 when he logged 67.

We know he’s injured, and there are still doubts he can close effectively for an entire season.

“We know he’s injured.”

Professional journalism at its best, folks. I wonder how much research went into that one.

There are two groups of people who doubt that he can be an effective closer. The first group consists of the reasonable people who are simply concerned with his knee. The second group is made up of the ignorant: the people who think that a pitcher’s career can unravel because of a home run that happened a year and a half ago despite not showing any signs of mental anguish in the season that followed.

Guess which group Aram falls into?

Beside Lidge, the Phils left spring training in good shape.

No, not really, but spring training doesn’t matter anyway. The bullpen issues weren’t really resolved unless you count the acquisition of Tim Lahey. No one stepped up and demanded the #5 spot in the rotation, and good ol’ Adam Eaton won it by default (and by default, I mean “having the most burdensome contract”). Pedro Feliz didn’t draw a single walk between the end of February and the end of March.

Yeah, next time, maybe do a little research.