Brad Lidge (last year of arbitration) earned 5.35 mill last year + Eric Bruntlett, 1st year arb, earned 525K last year, utility guy who can play any position except pitcher and catcher
Michael Bourn (finished 1st year in the ML, paid 380K) + Geoff Geary (837,500K) 1st arb year + minor league 3B Mike Costanzo
Not explicitly stated is that now the Astros will have to spend serious bucks on a closer, which will not be cheap, and will be replacing Luke Scott’s production with Michael Bourn’s. Also not explicitly stated is that Brett Myers will be able to start next year, so the Phils just saved themselves the trouble of having to find a good ML starter.
So let’s take a look. In terms of money, well, even if Lidge is paid 6.5 mill and Bruntlett 1 mill, the Phils will owe only that 7.5 mill this year and if they offer Lidge arbitration at the end of the season, will get 2 draft picks. They also acquired a good ML starter free of charge. Not bad.
The Astros substitute Michael Bourn for Luke Scott (no real savings there), acquire a somewhat cheap middle reliever who will probably earn 1.5 mill next year, a minor league 3B AND must find a closer somewhere and IF they get Coco Cordero, as I’ve heard they want to, will be paying him at LEAST 8 mill a year for at LEAST 3 years if not more. No savings. On the other hand, they might could trade Luke Scott for a closer, but I wouldn’t count on it seeing as how they obviously don’t think Luke is worth anything much.
I doubt they intend to use Bourn as a 4th OF and pinch runner, as the Phillies did, even though they might, but I suspect they mean to use him as the new full time CF and move Pence to right. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to use Luke as the new Orlando Palmeiro, which would be a seriously stupid decision, as he’s a lousy pinch hitter.
But anyway, let’s look at some numbers:
Eric Bruntlett, age 30 in March, started the year in the minors, but ended up having 165 PA, actually more than last year. He went 34/138 with 5 doubles and no homers, 20 BB, 27 K and 1 GIDP. He’s an unusually patient hitter and has averaged over 4 pitches/PA during his 5 years in the majors. His glove is adequate almost anywhere and he is surprisingly fast in the OF. His line .246/.346/.283/.629 (last year) and according to Lee Sinins, had a (-)6 RCAA.
Brad Lidge, age 31, (who is going to be delighted with pitching in Philly where the extraordinarily polite fans never boo pitchers who blow saves) really could use a change of scenery as too many Astros fans are going to throw rotten tomatoes at him if he ever gives up another homer again and are going to insist that Albert destroyed his mind. Or something. Anyway, his line last year between closing and pitching in middle relief: 54H, 25 ER, 9 HR, 30 BB, 88 K over 67 IP with 19 saves, 7 holds and 8 BS and a 3.36 ERA. Lee Sinins has him with 6 RSAA.
Michael Bourn, age 25, lefty bat, had 33 H, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 13 BB, 21 K, 1 GIDP over 133 PA, 29 runs, 18 SB, 1 CS – his line .277/.348/.378/.726 and he had 1 RCAA according to Lee Sinins. If he played full time, I would expect roughly 5 times as many PA, and so this would be 15 doubles, 15 triples (yeh, sure) 5 homers, 65 BB, 105 K, 5 GIDP, 90 SB, 5 CS and 145 runs scored. Giggle. Well, I seriously doubt 15 triples or 90 SB or 145 RS. I’m not understanding how he’s any different from Josh Anderson. Ah well. Yet another Astro left to rot in AAA, unless they have the sense to trade him, seeing as how he’s otherwise useless and there is more than one team who WANTS a CF and doesn’t want to spend FA money – can you say White Sox?
Geoff Geary, age 31, righty reliever. Can you say Brian Moehler/Joe Borkowski only 5 years younger? In 57 games over 67.1 IP, 72 H, 30 ER, 8 HR, 25 BB, 38 K, 9 H, 3 BS, 4.41 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .283 BAA and 1 RSAA. Last year, he was tougher on leftys than rightys, but his career stats are about equal. He had a great year in 06, but apparently he lost both velocity and command last year (according to a private email I received from a Phillies fan.) Who knows what he can do with a new pitching coach? I’m not exactly holding my breath.
Mike Costanzo, the minor league 3B. Completed his year at AA Reading (a hitters’ park) and his line reads 137/508 AB with 29 doubles and 27 homers, 75 BB, 157 K, (27% K in 583 PA) 86 RBI over 137 games – .270/.368/.490/.858. And here is what poster “bad doctor” #113 on BTF had to say about Constanzo and the homer factor at Reading:
“Didn’t Dan mention a ridiculous HR factor for Reading? That would strongly affect the perceived value of a TTO guy ( 3 true outcomes, meaning a ballplayer like adam dunn who mostly either walks, strikes out or homers – a bad contact hitter who also probably has a lot of GIDP) like Costanzo especially. FWIW, he was .279/.394/.538 with 17 HR in 251 AB at Reading and .259/.339/.432 with 9 HR in 243 AB on the road. As a team, Reading hit 55 HR at home, 33 on the road (in = AB) … pitchers allowed 1.01 HR/9 at home, 0.84 HR/9 on the road.”
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently referred to Costanzo’s defense as “impersonating a lawn ornament.” Great. He had 34 errors last year (and 30 the year before)and all yall KNOW how generous scorers are with hits. In other words, he doesn’t look like Jeff Bagwell, who was acknowledged to have an excellent glove at third. And we don’t exactly have room at 1B in the majors.
So what do I think? Well, it depends what we get for Luke Scott and Josh Anderson – they had BETTER be traded as there is no point in not trading them and it depends whether or not we spend a hellacious amount of money on a “proven closer” so as far as I’m concerned, the dealin ain’t done. If Josh Anderson rots in AAA, Luke rots on the bench and we sign some 10 mill a year for 5 years closer, then this trade makes the Jennings trade look good.
For a different prospective on this trade, click here to read Nate Silver’s analysis from Baseball Prospectus Unfiltered. He thinks the Phils got the short end of the stick in the trade and here is what he thinks about Bourn and Costanza:
“Is that (getting Lidge for one year at 6+ mill plus the 2 picks at the end of the year if they offer him arbitration) worth giving up two good prospects in the form of Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo? No, and it isn’t close. Costanzo is not a Grade-A prospect, but he had a very solid year in Reading, where his 27 home runs placed him second in the Eastern League. That translates to a .263 EqA in our hot-off-the-presses Davenport Translations, indicating that he could be a major league average third baseman right about now, probably along the lines of a Steve Buechele type of player, which would be very encouraging for a 24-year-old.”
– He doesn’t note that Reading is an extreme hitters’ park and Constanzo has an extremely high K rate and that he can’t catch a cold and seems headed for first or DH. He also forgets that Brett Myers is FAR more valuable as a starter than closer and that Philly has seemingly added a starter without giving anything up or paying FA prices.
“Bourn, meanwhile, has less upside but more locked-in value, and by all signs is poised for a 3-5 year run as a league-average center fielder. Projected by PECOTA for a .271/.346/.401 performance prior to the start of the season, he spent the entire year on the Phillies bench, essentially matching his projection with a .277/.353/.378 batting line over 119 at-bats. Although those batting numbers are superficially unimpressive, consider that the average National League center fielder posted a .273/.336/.426 batting line last year, which is highly comparable in value to Bourn’s. Bourn also accumulated 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts, a remarkable record for a player that was usually coming in cold as a pinch-runner in obvious stealing situations. Essentially, he’s the player that Juan Pierre is supposed to be.”
– AND he has a strong and accurate arm, too. Not that that is a particular interest of BP. I have heard from just about every Phillies fan that Bourn is a great center fielder and that he is fast and a SMART baserunner. Better than Willy Taveras by FAR. But not better than Luke Scott. Unfortunately.