A pair of right-handed pitchers hit the free-agent market Monday, when the Philadelphia Phillies announced they would not pick up the club options of reliever Brad Lidge and starting pitcher Roy Oswalt. With the New York Yankees coming off a disappointing loss to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series, it is only natural to think about whether the richest team in baseball might be interested in pursuing either pitcher this winter.
Oswalt would seem the more likely candidate for the Yankees, given that they will likely be short a starter assuming if do not re-sign Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon, aging starters who made significant contributions to the 2011 AL East champions, but faded down the stretch and appear unlikely to return in 2012. Though the 34-year-old Oswalt missed about two months of the season with back problems, he was mostly effective when healthy and pitched to a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts. Though the lingering questions about his health made his $16 million price tag too much for the Phillies, Oswalt ranks along with the White Sox' Mark Buehrle as the best starting pitcher on the market not named C.J. Wilson. At a lower cost, Oswalt could very well be of interest to the Yankees, especially if ace lefty CC Sabathia opts out of the last four years of his contract.
Lidge, on the other hand, seems unlikely to draw interest from New York, regardless of how much money he's asking. Though he was outstanding in 25 appearances this season, Lidge has missed significant portions of each of the past two years with shoulder and elbow injuries. What's more, the Yankees already have a pretty good closer for next season, and arbitration-eligible setup man David Robertson was absolutely brilliant all year long. Already 34 years of age and of questionable health, Lidge hardly seems a likely successor to Mariano Rivera should Rivera retire after the 2012 season.
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