Lidge Becomes One of the Richest Relievers
In football, you don’t even need to play a down to make top money. In baseball, a breakout year is good for a a lucrative long-term contract. For Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge, an awesome first half of the season rewarded him with a 3-year extension worth $37.5 million, nearly double the $6.4 million he’s raking in this season.
Lidge is a perfect 19-of-19 in save opportunities and his 0.77 ERA signifies just three earned runs all season, one of the reasons why the Phillies lead the NL East by 3.5 games. Let’s check out Lidge’s average salary of his new extension in comparison with the 2008 salaries of the top five paid relievers in baseball today.
Mariano Rivera, NYY, $15 million – 38.1 IP, 2-3, 44 K, 23 SV (Tied for 6th), 1.17 ERA
Brad Lidge, Phi, $12.5 million – 35.0 IP, 2-0, 47 K, 19 SV (T11), 0.77 ERA
B.J. Ryan, Tor, $12 million – 29.0 IP, 1-3, 31 K, 16 SV (T19), 2.79 ERA
Billy Wagner, NYM, $10.5 million – 34.0 IP, 0-1, 40 K, 19 SV (T11), 1.85 ERA
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA, $10 million – 37.1 IP, 0-1, 35 K, 34 SV (1), 1.93 ERA
Eric Gagne, Mil, $10 million – 21.1 IP, 2-2, 20 K, 10 SV (29), 6.33 ERA
Assuming Lidge keeps this up, it seems as though Philadelphia’s relatively getting what they pay for. But the role of closer is a volatile one, with new closers emerging every year. Just take a look at Joe Borowski, last year’s AL saves leader, who just got released yesterday by the Cleveland Indians. My point? Don’t overpay for saves (just like in fantasy ball).
What do George Sherill (#2 in saves), Jonathan Papelbon (3), Brian Wilson (T4), Joakim Soria (T6) and C.J. Wilson (10) have in common? They all make less than $1 million this season, and that’s half of the top 10, based on what closers are supposed to do – save ball games.
Phelps Set for Another Eight Races in the Olympics
Michael Phelps set two world records and qualified for eight races in the Olympic Swim Trials held for the past week in Omaha. His five individual races and all three relays give him another shot at Mark Spitzer‘s 1972 record of seven gold medals, where in 2004, Phelps fell just short of the record with six golds and two bronzes.