The Phillies have clearly proven that they can be successful without these two, and it looks like it’s time to move on.
1. Roy Oswalt Is Too Risky
Roy Oswalt went 9-10 in 2011 and spent a considerable chunk of time on the disabled list with a back injury.
He kept a 1.34 WHIP and 3.69 ERA. With numbers like those and brief talk of retirement following his injury, it is clear that Oswalt is not the pitcher the Phillies are looking for to be their fourth ace.
The main reason not to pick up his option, however, is the cost: $16 million. Maybe if he had numbers like Vance Worley (more on him later), the Phillies would lock Oswalt in for another year, but there is no good reason to take the risk of keeping him around in his current state.
2. Brad Lidge Can’t Keep the Lights Out
Following the 2008 season, “Lights Out” Lidge has struggled to get back into his World Series form.
In 2009, Lidge blew 11 saves and ended the season with a 7.21 ERA. In 2010, Lidge blew five saves and maintained a 2.96 ERA.
Unfortunately, Phillies fans would never get to see if Lidge’s progress would continue because a rotator cuff tear held him to just 19 1/3 innings in 2011. Lidge did play well in those innings, mainly as Ryan Madson’s setup man, where he had a 1.15 WHIP, 1.40 ERA and eight holds.
However, picking up his option would cost the Phillies $12.5 million, which is money that could be used to sign a more consistent relief pitcher.
3. Ryan Madson Has Proven That He Can Close Games
Talk about stepping up to a challenge. Madson saved 32 games in 34 opportunities in 2011 and ended the season with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Madson’s ability to be successful in the closer spot after previously struggling in the role. being a middle reliever and setup man for the past seven years, is impressive.
Madson has earned the closer role that Lidge used to occupy, and Phillies fans can rest easy knowing that he’ll be using the offseason to prepare for that position.
4. Vance Worley Is the No. 4 Starter
Worley finished the 2011 season with a 11-3 record, a 1.23 WHIP and a 3.01 ERA. He didn’t lose a game for three straight months from the beginning of June through the end of August.
Most importantly, Worley proved he has what it takes to be a starting pitcher on a team that has three of the best in Major League Baseball: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Worley is also very young at age 24, and now that the Phillies have seen his potential, he can learn from the aces, hone his skills and potentially become an elite starter.
Nothing is a sure thing. Lidge and Oswalt could have outstanding 2012 seasons, but it seems as though the risks of keeping them outweigh the chances that they will be successful. The Phillies need to turn to Madson and Worley as they look to the future of their aging team.
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