Upon being designated for assignment and subsequently released, Brad Lidge has spent much of his time at home in Colorado spending time with his family. His agents have been fielding calls from potentially interested teams, but it would seem, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, that Lidge has yet to decide if he wants to pitch again this year, leaving his future riddled with uncertainty.
With the injury to Drew Storen, Lidge was able to take advantage of circumstance and work himself into the mix at closer when the season initially began. He’d earn a pair of saves, one coming on Opening Day, but would also blow a pair of leads at home against Cincinnati and Miami. Over seven early appearances he held a 5.14 ERA with seven strikeouts and seven walks over seven innings. He wasn’t the dominant reliever anymore that he once was in his career, but the results weren’t quite terrible just yet.
Then came a trip to the disabled list, on April 21st, thanks to a sports hernia in his lower back. Lidge would miss roughly six weeks of time before being activated for a rehab assignment. He’d make just two appearances, totaling just 1.1 innings, before Washington would summon him back to the Nationals bullpen.
The veteran right-hander returned on June 8th and lasted just four appearances, totaling 2.1 innings. He walked four, struck out three, and was pitching to a 23.14 ERA since his return before his Nationals career came to an abrupt end.
Now, from what Crasnick shares, it would seem Lidge is aware that he’d likely need to put some minor league work in before a team would insert him into their bullpen – despite the obvious relief pitching need across the Major Leagues. He doesn’t seem thrilled with such an idea either:
I am healthy, but based on the path I would have to take to get back to the bigs this year I am not sure I will be jumping back in right now. No official decision one way or another, but mostly I am not happy that I rushed back from surgery before I was ready only to be designated for assignment a couple of days later.
The Mets, who’ve been battling injuries and are in need of some bullpen help, have been mentioned as one possible suitor. Lidge’s former team, Philadelphia, could also use help in the bullpen but has yet to express any interest. The Dodgers and Angels have both also been rumored to be seeking a bullpen arm, though there have been zero connections to Lidge made on either front.
Over at Chicken Friars, Robert Moreno suggested once the DFA announcement had been made that the Padres should make a run at acquiring Lidge. His argument is largely based on the “low risk, high reward” type of thinking that a small market team like the Padres relies upon.
Meanwhile, Robbie Knopf at Rays Colored Glasses dug deep and examined just how different a pitcher Lidge is compared to his dominant closer days. Tampa Bay has a history of taking chances on veteran relievers with the hope that they can get one more quality season out of them. Lidge is a different type of pitcher now that he’s lost some velocity and walks more batters, but as Knopf writes, he could be a possible fit for a team like the Rays as well.
Despite his career track record, Lidge is probably right in assuming that any team that might sign him would ask him to make a few appearances in the minor leagues before seeing time out of the Major League bullpen. It’d be a justifiable request considering how inconsistent he was during his brief stint with the Nationals. Perhaps he’s ready to sit out the remainder of the season but it doesn’t likely that Lidge is ready to simply walk away from the game for good just yet.