Could Lidge Be Trade Bait?

Brad Lidge has yet to throw a pitch for the Phillies this season, and with Ryan Madson emerging as the team’s closer, it’s possible that the 2008 World Series hero won’t ever pitch for Philadelphia again. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal has floated the idea that the Phillies could try and trade Lidge for help in right field:

Anyone who thinks the Phillies will stand pat at the trade deadline hasn’t been paying attention. Ruben Amaro Jr. has been creative and aggressive since becoming general manager in November of 2008, and not necessarily in that order… The emergence of Ryan Madson as a viable closer, for example, could enable the Phillies to trade Brad Lidge, who is aiming to return from his strained rotator cuff by mid-June.

What’s more, Amaro could pull the same magic act that his counterpart, Ned Colletti, has perfected with the Dodgers in recent years, parting with better prospects in exchange for cash in deals.

One of the names Rosenthal dangled as a possibility is Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, though payroll issues may preclude that trade from happening. I’m not quite sure what the Phillies could get in return for a pitcher who’s been on the 60-day DL with a rotator cuff injury. But hey, baseball teams make horrible trades all the time, so maybe there is a sap out there dumb enough to lavish the Phillies with batting help in return for damaged goods. Last season, Lidge showed a marked improvement from his disastrous 2009 campaign, so any team looking to pick him up will probably be hoping for the pitcher who kept batters hitting under .200 in 2010 and 2008, and not the guy in between who let them hit north of .300.

With Madson’s emergence, it makes a certain amount of sense to trade Lidge now. He’s an unused asset, and the Phillies still desperately need to find production out of the spot that Jayson Werth vacated once he left for Washington. Will they be able to get that from a guy who hasn’t even thrown a pitch this year? If they can, well then they might be the smartest team in baseball.

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