Just Say No to Former Phils

Between the time 49-year-old Jamie Moyer requested his release from the Baltimore Orioles and recently signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, there was some buzz that the former Phillie could return for one last hurrah. Moyer, of course, spent time with the Phillies between 2006-10, posting a 4.55 ERA. Moyer missed all of 2011 before signing with the Colorado Rockies in January. The veteran never found his groove, making ten starts to the tune of a 5.70 ERA before he was released.

Even when he was healthy, he was never all that productive. Sure, his 3.71 ERA in 2008 was great, but it was an obvious outlier as it was the first time since 2003 he had posted an ERA below 4.25. That ’08 season was sandwiched by a 5.01 ERA in ’07 and 4.94 in ’09. Moyer is, more than almost anyone else in baseball, very reliant on the defenders behind him converting batted balls into outs. Between 2007-12 among pitchers with at least 700 innings pitched (starting in at least 95% of appearances), only 12 pitchers have struck out fewer batters per nine innings than Moyer.

Player SO/9 IP ERA+
Aaron Cook 4.04 767.2 103
John Lannan 4.71 751.0 103
Jon Garland 4.81 863.0 103
Mark Buehrle 4.85 1147.2 118
Joe Saunders 4.99 987.2 106
Jason Marquis 5.01 825.2 95
Carl Pavano 5.01 751.0 91
Mike Pelfrey 5.07 875.0 92
Brad Penny 5.10 713.1 96
Roberto Hernandez 5.31 860.0 92
Kyle Lohse 5.46 885.1 98
Paul Maholm 5.49 1001.2 92
Jamie Moyer 5.59 723.0 93
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/26/2012.

That is not a list of names that gets you excited about baseball. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Moyer’s production is easily replicated by the veterans in Triple-A such as Scott Elarton, or the younger players like Tyler Cloyd and Austin Hyatt. Since you know what you’re going to get out of Moyer, why not roll the dice with someone who has paid his dues in the system? The best case scenario is that you get rewarded with a breakout like Kyle Kendrick in 2007; the worst case scenario is that you get a Moyer-esque performance anyway.

The other former Phillie that has appeared on the radar is Brad Lidge, recently designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals. As he often did with the Phillies, Lidge battled injuries and ineffectiveness in his short stint with the Nats, appearing in only 11 games and posting a 9.64 ERA. In his 9.1 innings, he struck out 10 but also walked 11. He has never been a maven of control, walking about 12 percent of the batters he faced while with the Phillies between 2008-11.

For as bad as the Phillies’ bullpen has been, the one thing they have been doing right is avoiding the free passes. Their combined 8.9 percent walk rate is tied with the San Francisco Giants for the fourth-lowest rate in the National League. As they also have the fourth-highest fly ball rate at 36.7 percent, adding Lidge’s lack of control to the mix would make for some disastrous scenarios (13 of the 23 home runs Phillies relievers have allowed have been with the bases empty). And, as with Moyer, Lidge doesn’t add anything that the Phillies can’t already get from within their Minor League system. Lidge’s high-strikeout, high-walk approach can be replicated by Phillippe Aumont, for instance.

Moyer and Lidge were certainly big pieces of the puzzle back in 2008 as they helped the Phillies end their 28-year playoff drought, but they both individually had fluky outstanding seasons that year. In the time since, they have shown that when they are able to consistently stay on the 25-man roster, they are merely replacement-level players. As old and injury-prone former Phillies come back through town looking for work, the only response necessary is a simple “no, thank you”.

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24 comments

  1. Max

    June 26, 2012 02:49 PM

    In fairness, 5 of Lidge’s 11 walks were intentional. Good points, nonetheless. I briefly debated with myself about it when I first heard, but yeah, not a whole lot of upside there.

  2. Scotch Man

    June 26, 2012 02:53 PM

    I tend to hold this opinion myself and it’s anybody’s guess as to why Aumont hasn’t had his crack at the bigs with the indigestion inducing bullpen of 2012. I don’t really blame any of them. Charlie is especially awful when it comes to using relievers and a lot of these guys aren’t getting a good work load. I’m not shocked if Diekman hasn’t pitched for a week and can’t throw a strike.

    There’s a pro and con to bringing back Lidge. One would think he’s good to pitch out of a jam in the late innings and get key outs. It’s something the Phils could use. The con being that it stunts the growth of some of these other guys even more.

    I’m kind of on the fence about it. I’d like to see him back. On the other hand, I don’t really want to see the World Series hero booed out of the park if he’s signed and struggles. That would just be an extra kick in the balls for an already kind of miserable season.

  3. Bill Baer

    June 26, 2012 02:54 PM

    @ Max

    Good point. I didn’t even think to look at the IBB’s, which are obnoxiously high. What is Davey Johnson doing down there in Washington?

  4. Brian

    June 26, 2012 02:59 PM

    If Lidge were still capable of getting out of jams and recording key outs, the Nationals would not have released him.

  5. Max

    June 26, 2012 03:17 PM

    @Bill
    Haha, no idea. I looked at the situations after his release to see if I could find any patterns, but I remember being disappointed that most either worked in not allowing any runs or were after he had already allowed runner(s) to score and didn’t result in any more. I’ll check again, though. The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it is. He had pitched in 11 games!

  6. Bev

    June 26, 2012 03:41 PM

    I think adding Brad Lidge would give more than a good pitcher. His ability to mentor young pitchers and his knbowledge would being much to our failing bullpen.

    Yes, many of his walks this season were intentioanl but I also feel he was brought back to the “bigs” too fast after his hernia surgery. He was to have been in the minors for a minimum of 3 outings and the Nats brought him up after 2. And I believe they used him against the Yankees hoping he would fail.

    I would love to see him back in Philly!

  7. LTG

    June 26, 2012 08:00 PM

    Can we make Michael Martinez a former Phillie? At his current rate, were he an everyday player he would be a -3.0 WAR player. -3!

  8. Ken Bland

    June 26, 2012 08:01 PM

    Well, geez, if you’re gonna write a piece on whether to acquire ex-Phils, ya might as well include a guy who’s certainly tradable, although he has been for a couple previous years, and still has some skill. That’d be Brett Myers.

  9. hk

    June 26, 2012 08:15 PM

    LTG,

    Shouldn’t it be 3.0 WBR (Wins Below Replacement)? It is amazing that Charlie thought it was a good idea to leave Game 1 of Sunday’s double-header up to Martinez, he of the career .245 OBP and career .169 OBP vs. LHP’s (albeit in only 78 PA’s).

  10. LTG

    June 26, 2012 10:03 PM

    hk,

    The acronym WBR is spin. This is the no spin zone.

    When it comes to Martinez I have no idea how people in the Phillies organization make their decisions. (This means that concerning Martinez nothing surprises me.) He’s not even good by traditional stats or the eye test. Why did we release Pete Orr? Why?

    What amazes me is that Martinez isn’t even close to the worst player getting regular playing time. He’s not even on the first page of the FG inverted WAR leaders. But at least some of the guys on that list used to be good.

  11. hk

    June 27, 2012 05:48 AM

    I thought Martinez’s -13.1 batting runs in 234 PA’s last year was quite a feat, but he’s crushing that pace this year with -5.3 in 48 PA’s. Out of all of RAJ’s decisions, I am beginning to think that the decisions surrounding Michael Martinez may be the most telling about his ineptitude. First, he claimed a 28 year old utility IF with a career MiLB wOBA of ~.300 in the Rule V draft, then he kept him on the MLB roster all of last year despite Martinez being obviously over-matched at the plate and this year, instead of releasing him and giving his job to a replacement level player, he kept him around to further reduce the Phils’ chances of winning games in which he plays. Charlie is also culpable in this as he is the one who has given him the PA’s including some in the highest leverage situations. As bad as Charlie’s decision making is, his choice on Sunday to use Martinez and his career .169 OBP vs. LHP’s over Pierre and his career .360 OBP vs. LHP’s down 1 run with the bases loaded in the 8th inning may be the worst decision he has ever made.

  12. Ryan

    June 27, 2012 06:40 AM

    Joe Table!!

    I don’t like Martinez, but Fontenot’s glove gives me the shivers and can lead to crushing plays late in games–bad situation to be in.

    I’m wondering whether Lidge was victim to small sample size and still wasn’t 100% or if he really has lost it. Tough to say.

  13. Richard

    June 27, 2012 07:15 AM

    what, Martinez’s wRC+ of 2 doesn’t thrill you guys? you sure are harsh!

    seriously, though, I don’t mind that they selected Martinez with the rule V pick, or even that they kept him on the team all year, since doing so did not affect the team’s ability to win the division at all, and I can see it being worthwhile trying to add some depth on the cheap… and he did play quite well in that one month he filled in for Polanco. But… beyond that, I really don’t see the appeal. Right now he’s a bad player in a slump, which is not a good combination.

  14. LTG

    June 27, 2012 07:38 AM

    Fontenot is a worse defender than Martinez, no doubt. Interestingly, though, he has better range but worse hands. Nevertheless, Fontenot has been worth almost a win more than Martinez. It’s not like Martinez is good at defense either.

    Last year Pete Orr = Martinez and cost league minimum. There had to be another David Herndon available instead of Martinez.

    The best news, though, is that this griping is all moot. Utley is back and Martinez will lose his roster spot to him.

  15. Noah

    June 27, 2012 08:26 AM

    I didn’t see if they made the move yet but I wonder if they are going to keep Martinez once Utley is back on the active roster since he plays Shortstop. Here’s hoping it’s Fontenot.

  16. JR

    June 27, 2012 08:26 AM

    Jamie and Brad are great guys, but age and injuries have taken there toll. Doubt if either were ever given a serious thought – at least I hope that to be the case. I would also pass on Brett unless the Phils can get him cheap.

  17. Richard

    June 27, 2012 08:58 AM

    Noah – apparently Fontenot plays shortstop, too, so it should be no reason not to keep him around.

  18. Jim

    June 27, 2012 09:03 AM

    I’m not arguing for picking up either Moyer or Lidge (although I think it would be more fun to watch Moyer toe the rubber tonight than Valdes), but I marvel at a blog that so casually dismisses two quality individuals who have made important contributions to the Phillies in the recent past while advocating that the team acquire the services of one of the most disruptive individuals out there in Manny Ramirez. Not everything is reducible to OPS or SIERA.

  19. Jim

    June 27, 2012 10:17 AM

    @Bill Baer
    So your argument is that 2008 is ancient history with regard to Moyer and Lidge, but 2004 and 2007 are relevant with regard to Ramirez?

  20. Bill Baer

    June 27, 2012 10:21 AM

    I’m not arguing anything except the notion that Ramirez is a “disruption”, which is just thinly-veiled racism.

  21. Noah

    June 27, 2012 11:18 AM

    @Richard
    Yes I saw that Fontenot has played some SS, I just don’t have faith that Ruben will make the right choice. As a backup Fontenot is way more valuable than Martinez even if they are worried about his glove since at least then he’s an actual pinch hitter.

  22. bharring

    June 27, 2012 02:13 PM

    It’s official, Michael Martinez is the newest Iron Pig!

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