The Bourn-Lidge Trade Revisited

All Star Game, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

After the 2007 season, the Phillies needed a legitimate closer and traded for Brad Lidge; the Astros GM Ed Wade had drafted Michael Bourn while he was Phillies GM and wanted him for the Astros.

It made sense for both sides. Lidge had been alternately brilliant and awful as the Astros closer; Bourn was 25, had speed and played good defense in center field.

For 2008, the trade worked markedly in the Phillies favor. They wanted reliability and got the missing piece in their championship puzzle. Regardless of the stat person’s statement that “anyone can close” or “if Lidge didn’t rack up the meaningless save stat, someone would’ve”, the 2008 Phillies probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Lidge, let alone won the World Series.

He was masterful from the beginning of the season all the way through the World Series and years ago he would have been in serious contention the Cy Young Award and the MVP. (He was an also-ran, finishing 4th in the CYA voting and 8th for the MVP.)

Bourn had a bad year in 2008 batting .228 with a .285 on base percentage and few other attributes to make him worthwhile apart from potential.

After 2008 though, the Astros got the better end of the trade.

Lidge was a free agent after 2008 and signed a contract extension at mid-season for $37.5 million through 2011 with an option for 2012 that’s not getting picked up. He’s been injured, inconsistent and outright terrible for much of that time. The Phillies have had the offense and depth to account for it, but it’s been essentially wasted money paid because of his greatness in 2008.

Bourn delivered what the Astros were expecting from 2009 until he was traded to the Braves last week. He’s been a prolific basestealer, leading the league in every season; he’s hit for extra bases and gotten on base consistently; and he’s played excellent defense winning two deserved Gold Gloves.

This is a classic win-win trade. Lidge’s high-low confidence levels had become a bane for the Astros, but he was the ingredient the Phillies needed. Bourn wasn’t in the Phillies future plans and was expendable.

Neither team should have any regrets nor would re-do the trade because it worked exactly as was envisioned.


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