As expected, the Phillies have declined the 2012 options for pitchers Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt, the team announced in a press release. Both pitchers are now eligible to file for free agency.
In choosing not to exercise the options, the Phillies paid a 2 million buyout to Oswalt and 1.5 million to Lidge.
The move does not mean that Lidge or Oswalt cannot return to the Phillies. Quite the contrary. In fact, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says he would like to bring back the players for 2012.
While we will not pick up either of their options, we will remain in contact with representatives for both players about the possibility of bringing them back for the 2012 season, Amaro said in a statement. Brad and Roy both made significant contributions to the Phillies over the past several seasons.
Had the Phillies chosen the options, Oswalt would have received 16 million for 2012 and Lidge would have earned 12.5 million in salary. As it stands, the Phillies have nine players under contract for 2012 for 110.5 million. Additionally, Cole Hamels is eligible for arbitration and closer Ryan Madson along with shortstop Jimmy Rollins is a free agent.
Lidge went 0-2 with a save and a 1.40 ERA in 25 outings in an injury-shortened 2011. In four seasons with the Phillies, Lidge saved 100 games, not including 12 saves in 12 chances during the postseason.
Rex Gary, Lidges agent, called the Phillies decision to decline his clients 12.5 million option a non-issue.
We knew it was coming, he said.
Gary said he expected there to be a healthy amount of interest in Lidge on the free-agent market, and he added that the pitcher would be interested in returning to the Phillies on the right deal. Lidge would still like to close, but hed be open to another role if the Phils were to go in a different direction at closer.
Oswalt joined the Phillies in a deadline trade with the Astros in 2010. In 35 starts over two seasons with the club, the veteran righthander went 16-11 with a 2.96 ERA.
Oswalt was the Phillies best pitcher during the final months of the 2010 season. In his last 12 outings of the year, Oswalt went 7-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 76 23 innings. During the 2010 postseason, Oswalt had 19 strikeouts in 19 23 innings. He also volunteered to pitch in relief during Game 3 4 of the NLCS in San Francisco, only to take the ball and start Game 6.
Oswalt is a three-time All-Star and two-time 20-game winner. He was the MVP of the 2005 NLCS with the Astros.
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