After the acquisition of Cliff Lee by the Phillies on Wednesday, the possibility of trading for Roy Halladay became almost non-existent. The window remains slightly open for a deal involving a lower-level starter, yet is also unlikely.
Now that the Phillies have the No. 1 pitcher to go along with current ace Cole Hamels on the pitching staff, is there a need deserving of enough attention that the team should address?
There absolutely is.
Last season, the Phillies had the most dominant closer in baseball. That man was Brad Lidge.
As we all know, Lidge returned to All-Star form in 2008 by not blowing a single save all season. This season has been a polar opposite.
Through 42 appearances, he has blown six saves in 26 opportunities. His ERA currently stands at dismal 7.11.
In the regular season, letting Lidge work out the kinks in his game makes sense. You can send him into the game with a three-run lead and feel secure that the game is locked up, even if he allows a run or two.
In the postseason, you won't have those three-run leads. The opportunities where you can feel secure with Lidge in the game will not exist.
A closer who is capable of entering the game in a crucial spot and getting the job done is needed. As of right now, Brad Lidge does not quite fit that role.
So where do the Phillies turn for a solution?
Could Brett Myers return in mid-August as the team's closer, or should a trade for a closer be considered?
If a trade is in the realm of possibility, who is on the market and who could the Phillies give up?
The most attractive reliever worth trading for is 32-year old George Sherrill.
The Phillies have reportedly had interest in Sherrill, who has 20 saves in 23 opportunities. Sherrill also serves as an eighth inning pitcher for the Orioles, who do not put their relievers in many save opportunities as it is.
The left-hander has struck out 39 batters in 41.1 innings pitched, while recording an impressive 2.40 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
If Sherrill were to be involved in a trade to Philadelphia, is there any current member of the Phillies the Orioles would be interested in acquiring?
They have expressed that if Sherrill were to be dealt a closer would likely have to be sent back in return. Does that mean what you think it means? Would Brade Lidge be included in a trade?
I'm not positive the Phillies brass would be willing, but if George Sherrill was closing games as opposed to Brad Lidge this postseason, I would feel much more secure.
Brad Lidge was the Phillies' Lord and Savior in 2008. Without him, the team would never have won the World Series. He will forever be regarded as a hero in Philadelphia.
But that was then, and this is now. In 2009, Lidge has been anything but what he was in 2008. His pitches are there, but his command isn't.
Could he potentially work out his issues by season's end and be back to form by the postseason? Possibly. Is the risk worth it?
George Sherrill is as good as it gets right now in Major League Baseball. With him enters a pitcher who is already pitching consistently well, not a pitcher who might pitch consistently well.
Many Phillies fans will balk at the possibility of trading their Zen Master of 2008. But when you simply look at the state of their current closer role, Lidge is not the answer for the Phillies.
In the postseason, the pitcher closing out games becomes just as important as those starting the games. If you can't finish the game, why even start it?
Simply put, if you could have a consistent pitcher with a 2.40 ERA as opposed to a struggling pitcher with a 7.11 ERA, which would you take? The former, of course.
In no way, shape, or form am I declaring the Phillies as players for George Sherrill, nor am I lobbying to trade Brad Lidge.
But if the possibility to acquire Sherrill comes along, wouldn't you support swapping Lidge and one other player for the top-notch reliever?
Trading for Lee two days before the deadline leaves the Phillies with time to make another move.
Technically, the team is still able to assemble a package of prospects to acquire Roy Hallday (what a menacing rotation that would be). The only problem would be the depleted farm system the Phillies would be left with.
Aside from Halladay, there are other pitchers to be had.
Yet if the Phillies are to make a deal for a Zach Duke-type starting pitcher, would bringing in a closer be more sensible?
If it involves George Sherrill, I believe so.