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11/8/07: Ed Wade – On The Lidge Of Reason

The trade:
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.

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45 Responses to “11/8/07: Ed Wade – On The Lidge Of Reason”

  1. Steve Schramm says:

    Keith Law wrote this for ESPN insider:
    Astros get little value for Lidge
    posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2007
    Ed Wade’s reputation as a GM in Philadelphia was as a man who overvalued relief pitching, but in his first deal as the Houston GM, he gave away one of the better relievers in the National League for three spare parts.
    Lidge’s struggles in 2006 may or may not have had anything to do with the infamous home run Albert Pujols hit during the 2005 NLCS, but in 2007 he looked a lot more like his old self, working with a plus fastball and plus slider, but with some of the control issues he had in 2006 carrying over. He’s been more homer-prone the last two years, and he’s moving to a great home run park, but in general he marks a huge upgrade in the Phillies’ bullpen, reducing their reliance on 40-year-old Tom Gordon (who works mostly off two-seamers now, pitching away from contact) and allowing them to return Brett Myers to the rotation. If you believe Lidge’s problems in 2006 and even his tendency to give up longballs in 2007 were all or partly mental, then you could argue that the change of scenery will help him in that department even while the ballpark hurts him. The Phillies still need to add at least one arm to their ‘pen, but Lidge could easily end up as the best reliever to change teams this offseason.
    Wade’s announcement of the deal focused on Michael Bourn’s speed, pegging him as a good leadoff player and plus defender in center field. He is correct that Bourn is fast and can play center field, but he’s stretched as an everyday player, with a fringe-average bat, no power, and fringe-average plate discipline. He has a slap-and-run approach you often see in left-handed-hitting speedsters. While it would have made him a star in the 1970s or 1980s, only Ichiro Suzuki employs it to that degree of success now. His acquisition makes Luke Scott, who has hit .273/.366/.516 in over a full season’s worth of major league at-bats, expendable. That’s good news for anyone looking for a cheap left-handed bat to serve as the strong side of a platoon in an outfield corner or as a DH.
    The Astros also acquired Michael Costanzo, the second-round pick in the last Phillies draft under Wade. Costanzo should get a cup of coffee in the big leagues, but he’s not a regular and probably not a bench player. He’s a big, slow hacker with a complex swing and difficulty hitting anything but fastballs and hanging offspeed pitches, and right now he’s well below average at third base. Wade did acquire one middle reliever, Geoff Geary, who has marginal stuff and is an 11th or 12th man on a major league staff.
    It’s interesting that Wade thought this was the best he could get for Lidge, or he felt using Lidge (perhaps their most tradeable commodity, with one year left until free agency) to fill their center-field role was a good strategy. The closers on the free agent market are all worse than Lidge; only Francisco Cordero is close, and he’ll probably get a four-year deal. There had to be other teams interested in Lidge, and by acting quickly and dealing with his former club to acquire three players drafted while he was the Phillies’ GM, it looks like Wade completely misread the market for relievers. At the same time he put filling a specific hole ahead of maximizing his return on one of his best assets. It’s an inauspicious beginning to his tenure in Houston.

  2. Stephen says:

    Wow, lets hold the phone here for second and really think about what we have done.
    1) We freed our bull pen of Brade Lidge, who just had surgery to repair his knee, and in my opinion never really has ever “found his stride” especially in those tiiiiiight situations. Over the last year, the Astros reliever with the highest WRXL: Chad Qualls. Sarafate, the guys got talent and potential. Our new manager, appears to be level-headed and smart enough to eschew the 9th inning save opp logic and instead favors a tatic of bringing the right reliever when the game is on the line…like say before the 9th inning when the team is up by three runs. So good bye Brad, and hey, we just saved $7 million dollars in explicit cost.
    2) Now for some implicit costs; Regardless of Lisa’s feelings about the validity of Michael Bourn, we just avoided what looked to be the previous avenue we were taking, which was signing a Torri Hunter or an equally old and overvalued Aaron Rowand. That’s a savings of at least $10 million+….So if we do spend money on a Cordero or a Linebrink you can take that directly out of the $10 million plus in opportunity costs you forgot to calculate.
    3)Now we have more trade chips, this is good stuff people. A Josh Anderson, Luke Scott and Troy Patton package might be enough to pry the supposedly available Erik Beddard from Baltimore, who wants to dismantle and start over. Or perhaps that same or similar package for Kazmir. That’s just thinking of available starters. What I think everyone is failing to see is that we just gave ourselves options and we have a man at the helm is clearly making good deals and thinking at least one step ahead.
    Listen, I was as angry as the next indignant Astros fan about the use of Luke Scott last year, but Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence are a much better tandem than Hunter Pence and Luke Scott. Bourn brings a .350 OBP to the lead of spot, that lets Pence drop in either 2 or 5, a much better line-up usage for a guy who consistently hits for extra bases.
    So, Go Ed Wade, go. To say that this deal reeks of the Jennings deal is laughable, at best.

  3. Daniel says:

    Lidge probably would not have gotten much more now. At the deadline the Astros, I believe, could have gotten a good to very good SP prospect (like a Clay Bucholz) because at the time he was hot, and teams were desperate. Yet, Law is wrong. Lidge was not returning to the player he was in ’04-’05, no matter what his stats are. Most of his good stats and good outings occured when he was not a closer and was working 6-7-8 innings. As a closer he was horrendous, again. He blew eight saves in I believe 28 chances, which is terrible. He actually had a better save conversion rate in ’06. He was just not mentally right for the closer’s role anymore. He could be a valuable reliever for Philly, but not as a closer.

  4. Steve Schramm says:

    Good conversation; many interesting points raised here. It’s pretty clear that this trade was made with more trades in mind. Let’s wait and see what other moves he makes so we know the package he puts in place. This trade probably shouldn’t be judged in isolation; let’s see who’s in the 40 chairs when the music stops.

  5. Lisa Gray says:

    i’m actually amazed how many people in the houston area in the media think this was a GREAT trade.
    of course, there are a WHOLE lot of people who really truly think that willy taveras is a superstar and trading him was one of the worst astros trades evah
    IF he’s gonna be a leadoff guy he’s gotta get ON. he did steal a lot of bases last year, true, but a lot of those were in pinch running situations. unfortunately, i have defense stats only for a few innings in center, but i seriously doubt he’ll be SUCH an upgrade over pence that it was worth getting rid of luke scott.
    i can’t just CAN’T understand how bourne is different or better than anderson let alone luke scott
    and i agree with daniel that we probably could have gotten a lot more for him last july – no WAY would the sox have gotten rid of buchholz – cmon dude.
    but in case you forgot, he went back to closing at the end of the year and in case you forgot, his knee WAS bothering him i don’t care WHAT mr macho sez – he was limping
    and yeh he WILL give up homers in CBP bcause you’d have to have a groundball closer to not have that problem. but philly KNEW that before they took him and heck billy wagner gave up more than a few homers there too.

  6. Jon Burkett says:

    I’m from philly. i watched Bourn up close and the guy gets on and runs the bases. He’s probably more of a corner outfielder than center, but he was the leadoff guy of the future. His on base will be around 36-38%. That, and him being from Houston, are the reasons people feel that giving him up was a good trade. He will be much better than Tavares, although I’m not sure that’s really saying a whole lot.

  7. JDolla$ says:

    I agree with Lisa – its puzzling why you trade your closer, and the only dominant pitcher in your entire bullpen, for a guy who is not much different than a young player already in your system. Now you have to go sign a closer, which unless you’re going to try to pull a “Joel Pineiro” make-a-closer-out-of-a-failed-starter project (and you saw how well that worked out for the Sox), is going to be really really expensive.
    And speaking of blown saves, you guys think that Coco Cordero is going to be the answer for terror-free 9th innings? Think again. He goes wild frequently, always seems to pitch with men on base, and gives up a lot of taters for a closer. Granted, Lidge wasn’t himself over large parts of the last 2 years, but Cordero is just more of the same.
    I think it was a bad trade for the Astros, but since I’m a Rangers fan (I know, that’s pathetic) I’m hoping that JD can figure out how to wrench Josh Anderson away from you guys for a second-tier prospect. We need a CF, and he’s at least as good as David DeJesus. He might even be as good as Willy T. was during his rookie season.
    So, the Astros have gone from World Series magic to utter ruin in the short span of 2 years. How the hell did they pull that off?
    Answer: ownership!

  8. Austin says:

    Law is also wrong about the success of slap-and-run hitters. Now, I’m not a HUGE fan of that kind of baseball, but to say that Ichiro is the only one who’s done it to success in recent years is ridiculous. Kenny Lofton, Willy Taveras, Juan Pierre, and to a lesser extent other guys like Rafael Furcal, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez, just to name a few, have had moderate to great success as slap-and-run hitters. I don’t know why he thinks a slap-and-run hitter couldn’t make it as a major leaguer.

  9. Austin says:

    How about Scott Podsednik as another example? I really don’t know why Law said that. You can have your stance on the value of slap-and-run hitters, but to act like they no longer have value in the game or that nobody has made success in recent years of that ability is just stupid.

  10. Bourn played in 105 games most likely coming in as a pinch runner quite often, which explains the high runs scored and SB totals just judging by PA’s. Looking at his minor league track record, though, 15 doubles and 15 triples isn’t out of the question for a full season.

  11. JDolla$ says:

    A few thoughts:
    1. I wouldn’t count on it that the Disastros are going to save the Lidge money ($7 mil, to quote you) and just go with what they have in the late innings. All signs point to them going after Cordero or Linebrink – or maybe both – with a serious offer. Linebrink’s going to go for closer money (5-7 mil), and Cordero might get *more* than what we paid Lidge. How is that saving money?
    2. I don’t think the Stros were ever serious about putting a lot of cash into another FA outfielder – they have too many other holes to fill on this club that has zero depth.
    3. I guess Anderson is trade fodder – either that or he’s the 4th OF – and he might get you something. He’s not going to get you Bedard, though – or Kazmir. Those guys are not going anywhere unless there’s a premium pitching prospect involved. For instance, someone like Kershaw in the Dodgers organization. Or Bucholtz or Phil Hughes.
    4. And, how much are they going to get for Scott? Aren’t they going to run into this obvious question – “If Scott is worth so much, why did your organization give up on him after only a year and a half?” He is either going to be a bench player for the Stros (see Jason Lane), or the poster boy for the “sell low” trade.
    5. Aren’t we jumping the gun with Bourn a bit? He hasn’t proven anything yet – except that he can steal bases and that he can hit for a decent average in a hundred or so at bats. I’m skeptical until I see some hard evidence.
    The only good thing in this trade, imho, is that it does address those ugly rumors that Astros management avoids African-American ballplayers because it thinks they are “thugs.” However, if that was the motivation behind the trade – that’s pretty damned stupid.

  12. JDolla$ says:

    I also think Law is right when he says that Wade acted too hastily and thus failed to get the best value for his #1 trade commodity. With so many teams looking for closers and really only 2 or 3 decent guys available in free agency, I have to believe that the Astros could have gotten more for Lidge than Bourn.
    Last year’s trade deadline deal between Texas and Boston was a good example of how to go about things. About 5 teams wanted Gagne, and JD hung onto him until the very last minute and was able to get a ml-ready starter, a ml-ready 4th OF, and a premium, A+ OF prospect (Angle Beltre) for Gagne.
    And Lidge is WAY better than Gagne, so presumably Lidge could have brought in *more* than what Gagne brought in.
    Face it, Wade screwed up.

  13. Austin says:

    First of all, Stephen, I didn’t totally get your point with bringing up Qualls being our best reliever, but he’s NOT a closer. He’s got good stuff, he’s a great 7th or 8th inning guy, but he is not a closer. Remember the grand slams to Joe Crede? That’s just the tip of the ice berg when you look at close chances he’s blown late. People just don’t remember those as much because a walk off homer or a ninth inning meltdown is so much more dramatic than a 7th inning beatdown that ignites a comeback. I like Qualls, but I like him in his current role.
    And I hope you’re not honestly advocating a trade of Scott, Anderson AND Patton for Beddard. Don’t get me wrong, Beddard is a nice player, but if the Astros make that trade, they’ll be getting robbed blind. That would be a HORRIBLE trade.

  14. Austin says:

    JDolla, you’re right about that Gagne trade, by the way. I still can’t believe how the Red Sox sold out for a guy that ended up being totally inconsequential to their Championship. They gave up way too much for him.

  15. Kevin Bradshaw says:

    As long as Josh Andersen isn’t on this team I’ll be happy. He’s pathetic. Can’t hit, can’t catch, stolen base % is awful, all at AAA.
    I was fine w/ the outfield. It was an outfield that, when Luke Scott actually played, was pretty productive. How much better was Lee? Barely, I mean a run or two better barely. Scott will be 30. He’s one of my favorite players, but baseball IS onomics. And if they hadn’t made this trade they’d have blown millions on a 30+ CF who can barely tow a league average OBP.
    I didn’t see Lidge back after ’07 anyway.
    Bourn isn’t another Taveras. He can get on base, as a tad more pop, and can actually run the bases. They’re throwing away a cheap Luke Scott. Funny, this makes the Lee signing look even worse (if possible!),being that Scott is nearly as productive. In other words, mixed feelings, but I lean towards Mr. Silver’s take.

  16. JDolla$ says:

    I’m not one of those Scott haters – he’s not a bad player. But Lee hit .300 with 30 hrs and 100+ rbi. He led the league in rbi for much of the season – so it seems strange to say that Scott and Lee are about the “same player.”
    At least if you are talking about offense, which presumably you are.
    I’m curious about your take on Anderson. Have you seen him play? I haven’t – I’m just going by his stats. Is he really that bad of a fielder? You said he can’t hit, but he did hit for average both for the Stros and in AAA. Just curious what you can tell me of him, since I’m from Dallas and I didn’t get to see the Stros play much last fall.

  17. Steve Schramm says:

    Watching Anderson doesn’t really help. Sure, I watched every ML at bat. But he wasn’t facing very good pitching, no one had a book on him, and most games didn’t matter. Once Major League pitchers have video on a hitter, they can shut a hitter down. And that’s when we find out whether a hitter is the real deal — they have to adjust to the adjustments, and that cycle continues. So it’s way too early to conclude anything about Anderson other than he hit well for 75 plate appearances in September. And that’s too small a sample size to say anything else. He’s 25, so he’ll be inexpensive and under out control for a while. He’s got some trade value, but it’s speculative. Let’s see what Wade does.

  18. Lisa Gray says:

    several things
    1 – yes lidge WILL cost 7 mill or so, but a FA closer will cost even more AND will have to be signed for 3-5 years. therefore that move is NOT saving any money
    2- the Organizations is impressed with cordero because he always shut the astros down
    3 – michael bourn only had 52 more PA than josh anderson and why anythinks he is going to have an OBP of 380 i do NOT get. ML pitchers are going to adjust to bourn as he becomes a full time starter instead of a PH/PR
    - we didn’t NEED to get bourn when we ALREADY had anderson so keeping wade from wasting 10-12 mill a year for 5 years on a FA CF isn’t really relevant
    4 – again, the point about lidge was NOT that i especially wanted to keep him, it was that he SHOULD have gotten more in a trade.
    5 – scott + anderson + patton is most DEFINITELY not enough to get ace pitchers like bedard or kazmir let’s get real here.
    6 – there is no way in HECK that bourn + pence will create as many runs as scott + pence. if you really think there is, please, show some figures and you can throw in defense too.

  19. Austin says:

    JDolla – no, Anderson is not that bad of a fielder. I watched him all the time down here in Round Rock. He’s actually a very talented fielder. Better than anything else we have out there, better BY FAR than Lee and Scott. Kevin doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he disses Anderson’s defense. He’s towing the Astros’ front office line, and that’s a really bad line to be towing. You have to remember – this is the same front office that thought Jennings was a number 2 starter, and that Jennings and Woody would be suitable replacements for Clemens and Pettitte.

  20. Daniel says:

    I have to agree Bourn is definetely less than what Lidge WAS worth (Lisa: Lidge and Loretta to Boston for Bucholz was being tossed around here in New England during the deadline), but Wade could not have gotten too much more now. Bourn, I believe, as do the guys from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, will be better than Taveras, and Anderson. It’s strange to see the Baseball Prospectus believes that Houston got the better end of it, and I guess that’s true if Lidge bolts after a year, but hopefully they’re right (they usually are). Geary is better than tossing Borkowski and Moehler out there in the 6th, and this Costanzo guy obviously has major holes, but his power is at the very least intriguing. Here’s hoping this is just a move to free up cap space, and to us it wisely, even if that means standing pat this year, and opening the wallet up next year. If it is, I believe this could be a good move. It’s also interesting to note most of the Philly area dislikes this trade too.

  21. Lisa Gray says:

    my DOG is a better fielder than lee. but anderson looked VERY good to me from what i saw – excellent instincts. and yeh, the FO was saying last july about how towles was so substandard and was lousy with umps, his defense, his offense, etc. and yeh, 2/3 of the FO is still the same. i SERIOUSLY doubt that getting either jennings or woody was purpura’s idea. it smells like drayton
    daniel -
    all the lidge for buchholz talk was chat boards…
    and heck – ANDERSON is better than taveras. i’m not real too much of a willy fan and never understood all the willy adoration. then again i do NOT understand how any female could possibly think dane cook is either kewl or HOT. shudder.
    bpro is only thinking of getting rid of 6-7 mill salary and they are NOT considering the fact that lidge will probably be replaced with someone more expensive and the astros will lose scott’s bat.
    actually i am pretty surprised that philly fans are not liking this trade – it’s not like geary is anything but bullpen filler and bourn was not going to beat out victorino for center if they let rowand go. lidge is most definitely better than what is left of tom gordon
    and bruntlett i would think is EXACTLY what philly fans would like – a gritty grinder kind of guy

  22. Daniel says:

    You brought up the fact that the Phillies get a Starter basically for free because they can turn Myers into a starter, but Myers, I’ve heard and read, hates the idea of going back to being a starter, and loved the closer’s role. I’m not so sure that Myers will go back to the starters role, and either way he, an eccentric, strange personality anyway, will be quite upset with the team. I don’t believe the Phillies benefit that much for the trade. Bourn probably would have started Opening Day, if Rowand leaves. It would have been Burrell, Victorino and Bourn. Also, is it totally necessary to go out and buy a expensive closer? Closer’s are people that can be made in the farm system (see Oakland A’s = first Isringhausen, then Koch, then Foulke then Street). Is Sarfarte or another one of the kids, or god forbid Octavio Dotel really that bad of an option that Cordero is necessary?
    Also, I’m not giving up on the fact that Bucholz could of been had. Sports talk radio in New England was fuming that the Sox might let Bucholz go. And if Red Sox Nation is good for anything, it is that they are serious about their baseball people. They would not ahve been making this up. Anyway, it’s a moot point now. Maybe a Carlos Gomez from the Mets was a more viable deadline option.

  23. Lisa Gray says:

    myers might could hate the idea of going back to starting – or say he hates it, but he is significantly more valuable as the ace than the closer. and he’s under team control, so what can he do? he’s a guy who repeatedly punched his 120 lb wife in the face in public, so i wouldn’t call him “eccentric” – i’d call him a *(%^&! psychopath. but hey, he CAN pitch
    i don’t think it is necessary to go buy an expensive closer – but i have this bad BAD feeling that is what wade is going to do. we could try out a whole LOT of guys. we already tried dotel as a closer and so did the A’s and dotel wasn’t a good closer. good set-up man, not a closer. who knows about sarfate?
    as for the buchholz stuff, well, it’s not like theo is my best friend or anything, but i did hear tell from a few people who know a few people that it was ALL rumor and there was nothing to it. which i believe. because buchholz even then was a REAL prize for just lidge
    carlos gomez would have been a better deal than bourn

  24. Stephen says:

    Note that the Davenport Translations take into account park factors in making the translation to a neutral Major League. So that is factored the irrational fear you have of Mike Constanzo.
    Also, please read Nate Silver’s update of the trade analysis to better come to terms by what it means to have acquired the players we did in implicit terms (especially his treatment of talking about A-Rod).
    Your fear/disdain for Lidge being replaced by someone more expensive than him discounts the fact that this was going to be an inevitability for the Astros in exactly 362 days anyhow. Further, who is to say that the Astros will really pony up the cash for any of the closer’s on the market. Coco, Linebrink, and Rivera (IF he declines the Yank’s offer) are mostly likely going to wait to sign late, thus bidding up their price as the clock ticks. I imagine, Ed Wade (a man who is seemingly very intelligent despite your reservations to that fact) will more than likely not be hamstrung by waiting for closers to sign in January and probably have pursued other upgrades: Silva, Castillo, etc. To frame all of this in the bigger picture: Remember, today is Nov. 10, 2007 and there is plenty of time left in this off-season, so before you finish the crucification of Ed Wade, pause, consider EVERYTHING that this trade means, and please, calm down.
    PS. To the Luke Scott won’t command much in return people, please look at his home/away split and then try to explain to me how he doesn’t command much in trade value.

  25. Evan says:

    Trading Anderson, Scott and Patton for Bedard would be a steal for the Astros. He was the best pitcher in the majors before his injury in late August. Look at the stats. His Ks/9 was above 11! His ERA was incredible considering he plays in the AL East. Trading those guys for Bedard would be nothing short of grand larceny on the part of Ed Wade.
    As to your point about Chad Qualls, why would you cite his HR given up against the White Sox as the foundation for your argument that he would not be a viable option as our 2008 closer? I recall that our 2007 closer gave up not one, but two game winning hits in the World Series. One of which was to man who hadn’t hit a homer in over a year (Scott Podsednik). Qualls has the stuff, and has better control than Lidge. It’s possible to be a good closer without throwing 98 (which Brad does not even get up to anymore.)
    For the most part, I can’t understand why everyone here is of the belief that Brad Lidge will be missed. This year, everyone wanted this man hung, and now, we’re lamenting his loss. Ed Wade freed up a lot of money by making this trade, and gave us our CF of the future. Lidge wouldn’t have stuck around for another year, and the Astros wouldn’t have ponied up the dough, regardless. He wore out his welcome. Plain and simple.

  26. Kevin Bradshaw says:

    I meant Scott and Lee posted comparable OBP and SLG.
    Everything I said about Andersen was based his Minor league numbers, which, besides the BA were god awful- if not worse. On his defense, I’m just repeating what I’ve read. Best taken w/ a grain of salt.
    Bourn won’t post an .380 OBP- beyond a lucky season w/ an inflated BABIP. But he should out pace both Taveras (non-Coors version) and Andersen. Andersen isn’t a prospect. He couldn’t get on base in the minors. I think they’re facing reality. I prefer the ’07 outfield, but Tal Smith is running the team and in his senility has become obsessed w/ speed and contact. I think the ’08 outfield will produce significantly less than ’07. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no idea how runs are scored. Hint, hint, old timers, it ain’t SB.
    That being said, I’ll bet the farm Bourn is a better hitter than Taveras and Andersen over the long run.
    A vision of ineptitude:
    Notice his .325 OBP and .341 SLG at AAA Round Rock!

  27. Lisa Gray says:

    ok – one more time about lidge -
    the problem i have is what wade got for him, which, in my opinion, was a very poor haul. again, considering both bats and gloves, i can not find any justification for saying that bourn + pence is superior to pence + scott.
    i’ve checked out both bourn’s and anderson’s minor league stats – they both had an average of around 280-290 with OBP of 340 – and bourn had a slightly higher SLG, but nothing to write home about
    i do not have a bpro subscription and can’t read the update you are referring to. however, i DO know that davenport translations are very rough and are less accurate for high strikeout high power guys. the problem with costanzo is that he is a third baseman
    who can’t play 3rd worth spit and even if he did have a .262 EqA, he would play 3rd even worse in the majors – no one improves his glove going up the scale – he would have to be moved from 3rd to 1st or left. and we don’t have any space there. of course, he COULD be traded. i know you will probably bring up ryan braun, who makes lamb look like brooks robinson at third, but costanzo is no braun with the bat. you have to hit like braun to compensate for giving up so many runs with the glove
    i don;t consider carlos silva a very good ML pitcher, especially not for the salary he is going to command. nor do i consider luis castillo a particularly good second baseman AND he has been hurt considerably in the past 2 years and has lost most of his speed and glove. those are NOT upgrades, as afar as I’m concerned.
    as for wade and relievers, well, i sure can look at his track record with philly – and he liked to spend a LOT of money on expensive, not particularly good middle relievers. which is why i wouldn’t be surprised if he did the same thing here.
    i haven’t seen any evidence of intelligence.
    then again, it’s very amusing to me how many people can’t wait to get rid of adam everett because he’s all glove, but think it is just great to get rid of an 858 OPS RF with a very good arm and glove and replace him with a guy who runs fast and won’t have over a 700 OPS.
    the reason i don’t think that luke scott will get very much in return is that OBVIOUSLY the astros don’t think very much of him and you don’t ask much for what you think is worthless. i think that luke should be the regular RF and that some team, not as stupid as the astros, will pick him up, play him full time, and he’ll create 40 runs a year. or more.

    a bedard trade? well, that is, IF the orioles would trade someone so valuable for less than what they could get elsewhere. but even as good as bedard is, it would still be a bad trade for the astros. why? ignoring anderson and scott, who are basically worthless to the astros, it is 6 years of patton, projected to be a #3, for 2 very expensive years of bedard. what for? this is going to be a mediocre team for quite a while. why get rid of 6 years for 2? IF bedard would be the difference between winning and losing these next 2 years, that would be one thing. but he’s not. so therefore, i wouldn’t agree that it would be a good trade.
    i’m not exactly a willy luuuvvver, so i don’t think it would be real too hard to create more runs than he does. and i agree with you about tal. even if i DO think that a fielder who is as substandard as loretta or lamb will give up waaaaaayyyy too many runs, and in loretta’s case, more than they create with the bat.
    too many astros fans look ONLY at batting average, but i’m not one of em…

  28. Evan says:

    Are you sure about Bedard costing too much over the next two years? Maybe you should look up his numbers and then compare them to the production a team could get out of him. Considering the likes of Kevin Millwood are making upwards of 11 million per season, I think Bedard’s current salary wouldn’t be too difficult to stomach. True, the Astros could never get him, as we have little to offer to a rebuilding team, but it is fun to dream.

  29. Stephen says:

    Wow, Micheal Bourn can’t post over a .700 OPS, that’s news to me? If I can still read, I think he stat line says differently. Because you don’t have access to his PECOTA, I’ll provide it: It conservatively calls for .767OPS — I’ll leave you to the subtraction, I believe you end up with a negative number, indicating hyperbole on your part. Since you read Between the Numbers I’m sure you recall the section on Old Player Skill sets **cough**Mo Ensberg, J. Lane, and Luke Scott** and new player skill sets **cough**Bourn, Pence**
    Also, it’s pretty ballsy of you discount the re-updated DT’s that no one outside of BP has any real knowledge of or even the old DT’s for that matter in favor of your boys over on the Sabermetrics blog, opinons for a forum??? Really a forum, that’s credible HOW? The question you have to in honesty ask your self is, did Ed Wade build the current Philly Franchise? Oh wait, he did and they’re better than we are. Also, stop assuming what I’d throw back at you. Though, as I tried to bring up ago some months ago, Adam Everett doesn’t toe the line when you play offense and defensive (by my calculations) but neither you nor the boys at the Sabermetrics blog get back to me on that.
    Finally, if I were 23 years of age, which I just below, I sure wouldn’t want some to tell me that the ability I possessed currently was the ability I would possess for the rest of my life. If I knew right now that I would never progress at all, I’d be pretty depressed. Thankfully of Constanzo at least, baseball players peak in their late 20′s…phew.
    Sometimes, you have to have faith. This trade is makes us a helluva better ball club than we were three days ago. And the absolute best part is, we’re still not through building or tinkering. To support the faith and really just to calm you down:
    SUPERVORP (meaning, defense, and running counts) 2008 Projections:
    Luke Scott: 12.2
    Michael Bourn: 11.7
    GOOD LORD, we’re doomed…nope. Hunter Pence gets to play RF instead of CF, the gains from his defense (Uh, Oh, I’m taking into account defense, that’s a deviation from your preconceived bias of me) Will more than out way the .5 VORP.

  30. Stephen says:

    Because it reads a bit unclear: My rant about the forum in the DT’s paragraph is me calling you out on quoting someone from a forum as though they were authoritative on something other than trolling a forum. So when you are going to discount Mike Constanzo’s ability, why don’t we just use…facts? Instead of Here-say and conjecture, which from the Simpson’s, we all know is inadmisable.

  31. Lisa Gray says:

    i guess i am not clear about what i mean about cost
    here is what i am trying to say -
    2 years of bedard for 6 years of patton
    why is this something you would want to do? suppose that bedard was the best pitcher in baseball. so what? we’d have 2 good starters, any number of crummy starters and qualls, a decent reliever and, well, judging by what ed wade has done in the past, a large number of mediocre, expensive relievers.
    we’ll have bourn, everett, wiggy and whoever we put at second who will be at best, a zero RCAA. seeing as how we got rid of good offensive prodiction from scott. in other words, offense will be lance and pence and lee again. in otherwords, maybe middle of the NL in RC.
    summary – patton is the only actually GOOD young pitcher we have and i sure don’t see anyone who looks like anything above league average in the minors. we have him for 6 years and we’re not near any championship. so what is the point of trading him for a 2 year pitcher no matter how good he is or what he costs?

  32. Lisa Gray says:

    i have a VERY hard time believing that the bpro guys think that the LOWEST percentile OPS that bourn will have is 767. this means that the 50% forecast must be somewhere in the neighborhood of 800. it doesn’t make sense that they think that he will produce an OPS that is significantly higher than his minor league numbers as he was not exactly in extreme pitchers’ parks
    and since he only has 130 ML AB, they must be using some MLE and i’ve never heard of MLE adjusting upward over 100 OPS points, not by any system that tries to predict ML numbers from minor league ones.
    Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS has his line at .245/.306/.325 and of course that was for a predicted 458 AB. (which is where i got the not over 700 number.)
    As dan sez, “That leaves Bourn, who played pretty well in limited playing time for the Phillies in 2007. Unfortunately, in more extended playing time, he was quite a bit less inspiring before 2007, with the exception of an excellent full-season debut in 2004. It’s still premature to think that he can really better than a 5th outfielder and if the Astros were run by someone like Ed Wade, there would be a real chance that Bourn would interfere with the superior Lee-Pence-Scott outfield alignment. Uh-oh… ”
    i flatter myself that dan has been reading my blog…
    oh – and how did ed wade build the philly franchise?
    answer -
    mike arbuckle (genius behind the throne)
    and i am not a fan of vorp because there is no such thing as a replacement player and because i don’t respect the defense stats of bpro.
    i think you would be very hard pressed to find anyone to agree that FRAA is a good evaluator of defense.
    how many guys who made 30 errors at 3rd in A-ball, then 34 errors at 3rd in AA actually improved their fielding and were at least league average at third with the glove in the majors? i can’t find any because guys like that are moved to first or left, but hey, i agree that youneverknow… and sometimes high strikeout guys and guys who have a hard time hitting breaking stuff can learn to be more selective and learn to hit breaking stuff, true.
    - but i am STILL not clear why you think this trade makes us a MUCH better team, or why you think that the defense will be significantly improved – meaning, i don’t get how that translates into runs created…
    we’ll do adam everett later – i thought i’d already been thru the runs saved/runs created discussion…

  33. Stephen says:

    Where did I bring up Constanzo defense? Please take throughly read and evaluate my arguments before you respond with your canned answer. As for ZIPS, I believe that BP showed that it was a second-tier projection system, but discredit a player based on them.

  34. Stephen says:

    Because my ire for you, in this situation, has been stoked so great, I scoured the internet for Bourn projections….no one has him getting on base less than a .340 clip (CHONE, MARCEL, PECOTA…Bill James himself) or have an OPS of less than .750 So really, how much stock are you going to put into ZIPS, he has an above average K/BB, BB% ect. What makes him regress to Adam Everett-esque offensive capabilities??? Please just explain that. Stop deflecting the conversation to stuff I am not asking about or concerned with (namely Constanzo’s defense…seriously, when did I talk about it). Your argument style is interesting because you don’t seem to answer anything, you utilize hyperbole, and then you change the subject. Just tell me, what about Michael Bourn, in your expert opinion, makes him a guy who will hit at or around .300 OBP and less than .700 OPS.
    Finally, come August 2008, if Michael Bourn is not playing up to .340 and .750, I will eat my Astros hat, film it, and you can post it on your blog. Because saying that the league will adjust to him is what everyone hurled at Pence, but like a professional baseball player, he worked and made his adjustment. Which the virtue of being a young player…is that you are making a character assassination at Bourn?

  35. JDolla$ says:

    Jeez, Stephen. Why are you so worked up about the Michael Bourn thing? Are you his agent or something? Or his dad? The guy has had 127 major league at bats. That’s it – 127. NO ONE knows anything yet about what kind of hitter he will be. So it’s stupid for you to be getting so upset because people don’t agree with your projections, or with anyone’s projections, for that matter. It’s like you getting upset because people don’t agree that x candidate will win the election next year. Who the hell knows?
    Give it a friggin’ rest.

  36. Stephen says:

    My problem is with Lisa’s unwarranted skepticism. That’s all I am asking her to explain, if she’d just give me a real reason why she feels that he’ll be so bad, I’ll give it a rest. I feel this way, because I thought this was a trade we should have made at the deadline, because Bourn is what we need — a good OBP guy to lead off and help make things happen and can push Pence to RF, giving us a defensive tandem that can help into Lee’s defensive short-comings. Lisa harps and calls everyone dumb because they don’t pay attention to defense and now she is ALLLL over Scott who is an above-average, but certainly not great offensive player, in favor of the average bat and GREAT defense.

  37. Lisa Gray says:

    ok stephen
    will have new entry on bourn tomorrow and we’ll go from there

  38. Michael says:

    It is not uncommon at all for infielders’ fielding numbers (esp. errors) to improve as they move up the ladder. For one thing, the improvement in the fielding surfaces can be tremendous.
    Even some major league players make positive strides in their defensive play AFTER making the leap to the bigs. One player I have in mind as an example is Aramis Ramirez.
    Here’s an interesting article on Costanzo for some further perspective:

  39. Kris says:

    Yes, Luke DOES have good ratings in RF, too bad many people seem to believe – or perceive – just the opposite – (in large part thanks to the spin from the FO)
    He is playing RF & LF in Venezuela, saw that he was 3-4 and 2-4 in games on Fri & Sat.
    His BA is still not high at .242 but he’s brought it up after a slow start, meanwhile he continues to put the power numbers up in 18 games so far for the Magallanes:
    11 R 4 2B 3 HR 12 RBI 12 BB .382 OBP .452 SLG and a .833 OPS
    Luke’s tied for 1st in R, 2nd in XBH, 2nd in RBI’s 2nd in TB
    Amazing how a player can produce like he did this season – and last – and yet be without a starting position today ???
    Meanwhile he’s playing ball while his teammates are at home watching ESPN
    Just boggles the mind that Wade traded Lidge for 3 UNproven commodities and that’s all this trade amounts to. Then to legitimize it all, they rush to anoint Bourn as the NEW CF while relegating Luke to the trash heap.
    We really hope that Luke does get traded now, he’s too talented to sit on the pine

  40. lisa gray says:

    thank you.
    he is supposed to be the starting 3B at AAA this year and that is a great field, so we’ll see.
    the jump in the speed of the batted balls coming at you is from AAA to the ML

  41. lisa gray says:

    i really REALLY hope luke gets traded for a good return. but i am afraid he will be wasted on the bench, where he will stink it up as a pinch hitter, which is something he is lousy at, then the team will release him/trade him for nothing much.
    if michael bourn turns into kenny lofton, well, that’s good. but we should STILL get something for luke.

  42. Chris Rosenberger says:

    Have you heard or read anything from Larry Dierker regarding our now 4th outfielder? You know, that guy that has been our 3rd to 4th best offensive player – but looks to not see much playing time next year. Well, anyway, he suggested trying to find out if Scott can play 3rd base – at least as a platoon option.
    I think an idea like that – if Scott could play at least as well as Lamb and Wigginton – would be the best 3rd base option. Even if he didn’t take over on a full time basis, Scott can play the corner outfield positions well, and can play in Center in a Pinch (not very well at all though) – he could platoon with Wigginton and be in a 4th outfielder type of position when needed.

  43. Lisa Gray says:

    i do remember reading that entry from larry. and it isn’t necesarily a BAD idea. but the baseballs come at you very fast when you are at third and i’m not sure if, at age 29, luke could make that adjustment. best i know, he’s playing OF in the venezuelan league right now.
    denny walling made the change at age 30, so i guess luke could too.
    but i still think that luke would be most valuable in a trade as he is a lousy pinch hitter – OPS+ under 500 – and i seriously doubt he’d see much playing time.
    i still do NOT understand why an 858 OPS from a RF is considered insufficient – especially as he’s being replaced with an OF whose OPS is projected to be 700 something (ok now stephen, is THAT ok?)
    There are only 4 NL RF with at least 400 PA who had a higher OPS – and luke’s would have been higher if he hadn’t been sent up to PH

  44. Austin says:

    Evan -
    I was only citing those homeruns as the most striking examples of his propensity to give up homeruns in key situations. Also pointing them out because people tend to forget homeruns by middle relievers that don’t instantly ruin the game. EVERYONE remembers the homerun by Podsednik, but not everyone remembers the grand slam by Crede that put the game in reach, and not everyone remembers the exact same play happening when we subsequently faces the White Sox in the regular season.
    I also said that they were just a couple of examples. They’ve tried Qualls as a closer, and he simply is not a closer. He’s a setup man. And I’m with Lisa in saying that it’s not that I miss Lidge so much, it’s that I don’t think we got the best value we could for him, and I don’t think Wade shopped him as much as he could have. He seemed to just want to work out a deal with his old club as quickly as possible.

  45. [...] at Astros Dugout discusses the (relatively) recent trade with Philadelphia that netted Michael Bourn. astros, baseball, cubs, john russell, mlb, pirates, reds, scott [...]