For those in need of saves, this may be your best chance all year to acquire a cheap, dominant closer. Come next week, there is a very good possibility Brad Lidge will be closing again in Houston. This morning, Astros’ manager Phil Garner said, “I think [Lidge has] pitched well enough to go back to the closing role now, and my only hesitation is (the current bullpen configuration) seems to be working.” This isn’t the type of thing to say unless you are seriously contemplating a move and you’re trying to prepare Dan Wheeler for it. If the move wasn’t coming, this would most likely just anger Wheeler for no reason. Another possibility is that Garner is trying to inspire Wheeler after he’s given up 6 runs in his past three appearances, but this seems somewhat unlikely given his statement that everything “seems to be working.” Garner certainly still likes Wheeler, but I think he is beginning to realize that Lidge is his best reliever.
Even last year, when he had a 5.28 ERA, Lidge was still a great pitcher. He had a 12.48 K/9 and a 2.89 K/BB and was a victim of some bad luck. This year, his overall numbers indicate he isn’t quite back at his 2004 and 2005 form, but he has posted a fantastic 11.93 K/9 and a 3.77 BB/9. Since April 28, though, Lidge has put up even better numbers: a 12.42 K/9 and a 2.14 BB/9. Now that looks more like the Brad Lidge of 2004 and 2005. In addition, his 46% Ground ball rate is quite good, so Lidge should be a fine pitcher the rest of the year.
In deep leagues Lidge should already be gone, but if he is available in yours, you could get yourself a Top 5 or 10 closer for nothing right now. If you have a guy like Alan Embree or Antonio Alfonseca who will be out of a job soon, and you have no one else to drop, cut one of these guys. Don’t wait too long for Lidge. He’s a big name, and once people figure out he’ll be closing soon, they’ll be all over him. Make sure you don’t miss out. Grab him now.