Oswalt & Lidge: What Does Free Agency Mean?

Roy Oswalt

With the Philadelphia Phillies either declining their options or failing to tender new contract extension offers to former Astros Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge, both aging pitchers move now to free agency and wide open question about their new worths on the big league level. When you get down to it, “upside” is always the big factor in dealing with the valuation that clubs put on players. All of these people have ability or they wouldn’t even be in the hunt for big league demand and compensation. The fulcrum point on the see saw of decision-making is always where a player is on the slide from prospect to suspect.

Players have an “upside” when clubs still see them as having multiple years of exceptional performance to the level of their demonstrated abilities. They are on the “downside” when some combination of bad years and unavailability due to injury begins to suggest that they are no longer worth the risk of an expensive multi-year deal.

Oswalt and Lidge both seem to have reached the “suspect” stage of present contract considerations. Roy Oswalt will be 35 years old before next season’s end; Brad Lidge will go into the 2012 season at age 35. Both men have experienced arm troubles that have limited their availability to the Phils in recent times – and neither has been able to put up the kinds of results that alone justify big bucks and multiple season guaranties.

On the other hand, look at how the lights-out results of a single late career season can turn everything around. A year ago, Lance Berkman couldn’t even buy an on-the-cheap homecoming one-year deal with the Astros. Now he’s signed with St. Louis, had a great year, batted over .400 in the World Series, will always be remembered as the Cardinal who save the club from their second one-strike-away cliff in Game Six, signed a new $12 million dollars deal with the Cardinals for 2012, and will now be spending the winter walking around Houston with a World Series Championship ring.

Brad Lidge

Charlie Palillo of Radio Station 790-AM made an interesting point last night about Lance. Because of his performance with St. Louis last year, and especially because of his big moments in the World Series, Palillo believes that Lance Berkman will probably always be best remembered by most people as a Cardinal, not as just another career Astro who never quite got there. As much as I hate it, I have to agree with Charlie. Fans remember players best from their moments of great triumph. And sadly in Houston, we are still waiting to build a list that emanates from a World Series victory.

Maybe 2012 will be the season that either Roy Oswalt or Brad Lidge, or both, shall find a place to turn around their own career identities. If they do, it probably will not be in Houston. At their ages, and even playing on the cheap, neither man fits into our Houston plan – whatever that plan may actually be by the time we get the ownership strings untangled.





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One Response to “Oswalt & Lidge: What Does Free Agency Mean?”

  1. Doug S. Says:

    Maybe Oswalt signs an incentive based 1 year contract and joins Lance in StL. He would be able to slot into the #3 slot behind Wainwright (yes the Cardinals get him back next year) and Carpenter and in front of Garcia and Lohse or Westbrook.

    This would allow StL to move the last year of Lohse or Westbrook for a low level prospect.

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