Lidge goes to Phillies from Astros for Bourn, Geary

Updated: November 8, 2007, 2:10 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Phillies became the first team to make a big move at the general managers' meetings, acquiring closer Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros along with infielder Eric Bruntlett on Wednesday night.

Brad Lidge

Lidge

Houston received speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, right-hander Geoff Geary and minor league third baseman Mike Costanzo.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

The 30-year-old Lidge was 5-3 with 19 saves in 27 chances for the Astros last year after converting 32 of 38 opportunities in 2006. He lost his closer's job to Dan Wheeler one week into the 2007 season but regained the role in mid-June.

"We're getting one of the premier closers in the game," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "The marketplace, as we all know, is a little scary out there as far as pitching. We felt this was one of the best ways for us to really improve."

Lidge held batters to a .218 average and averaged 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He was sidelined from mid-June to mid-July because of a pulled oblique muscle in his left side and had surgery after the season to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

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"Obviously he got some struggles over the course of the year," new Astros general manager Ed Wade said

Philadelphia intends to move Brett Myers, who had been the Phillies' closer, back into the starting rotation. Amaro called him his No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels or possibly even a 1A.

"He was pretty excited about being on the mound when we clinched the division in the last game of the season and certainly did a fine job in that role," Amaro said. "He probably could thrive in that role certainly, but we felt like our best opportunity to improve our rotation was to get him back in there."

Wade has a deep knowledge of the Phillies, having been their general manager for eight years until he was fired after the 2005 season. Amaro also interviewed to become the Astros' GM.

LIDGE: LAST FOUR SEASONS
  2004-2005 2006-2007
SV/Blown SV 71-8 51-14
ERA 2.07 4.37
Opp. BA .196 .229
K per 9 14.2 12.2

The pair started talking last week, and the deal fell into place about lunchtime Wednesday.

Before the deal, Wade said he held talks with the agents for Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand, both free agents.

Bourn batted .277 as a rookie this year with one homer, six RBIs and 18 steals.

"We receive a speed center fielder, a top of the order bat, who we think has the ability to be a catalyst for our club for a long time and hopefully set the stage for Hunter Pence and [Lance] Berkman and Carlos Lee to drive him in," Wade said.

Houston doesn't necessarily intend to move set-up man Chad Qualls into the closer role. Qualls had five saves last season.

"Qualls has done a quality job for us over the last couple of season," Wade said. "The numbers that he's put up in the role that he's been in have been outstanding, but whether or not he ends up being the answer on the back end remains to be seen."

Bruntlett hit .246 with 14 RBIs last season, seeing time at shortstop, third base and the outfield.

Geary was 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA with the Phillies. Costano, 24, batted .270 with 27 homers and 86 RBIs at Double-A Reading.

"Geary give us a middle relief arm, a sinker-slider guy," Wade said.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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