Jon Heyman has been talking to Mets’ closer Billy Wagner, who is apparently close friends with the down-and-out former Astros’ closer Brad Lidge. Who knew that Wagner was an expert insider in major league baseball– he refutes the Astros’ claim that they are not planning on moving the shell-shocked reliver.
According to Wagner, Philadelphia wouldn’t be a good fit, because, well, it wasn’t a good fit for him. From Heyman’s article: "He needs to be in a place where he can [exhale],” Wagner said. "Houston’s so laid back. Maybe I’m biased against [Philadelphia] … [But] all it takes is one bad game, and fans would kill him." Obviously the Phillies are part of the discussion because they need to improve their bullpen in order to compete in the NL East, but Heyman also mentions the Mets and Devil Rays. Of the Mets, Wagner says: "He’d be a good fit here. In this clubhouse, it isn’t ‘Who hit the home run?’ or "Who had the hit?’ It’s "Did we win?”’ Yea, when I think of a place to exhale, I think Shea Stadium, with its kind, gentle, forgiving Mets fans. Right.
Lidge is on a one-year, $5.35M contract, so despite all the Astros "connections" to the D-Rays, I don’t see it happening. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times named some candidates yesterday nonetheless. In my opinion, any of those guys are too much to give up, especially for a team with no prayer of making the playoffs. Why are they in the market for a closer?
With so many teams in need of relief pitching, it is likely that Houston will be able to dump all of Lidge’s salary and still get some good value in return. But who, what, and when? It’s only speculation for now.
John Peterson is a Mets fan and writes for the blog Blastings Thrilledge.