The Washington Nationals announced this morning that they'd signed 35-year-old veteran reliever Brad Lidge to what is reportedly a one-year/$1M dollar deal. The 10-year MLB veteran reliever has 223 career saves, 11.95 K/9, 4.18 BB/9, a 3.44 ERA and 3.23 FIP in 592 games and 594.0 career IP over the course of his career with the Houston Astros who drafted him in the 1st Round of the 1998 Draft and the Philadelphia Phillies who acquired the right-hander in a November 2007 trade. Lidge's 2011 season started late as he recovered from rotator cuff issues, but as D.C. GM Mike Rizzo explained this afternoon in an appearance on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix with Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan, the one-time closer, who'll work with Tyler Clippard and closer Drew Storen at the back of the Nats' bullpen, should be 100% healthy heading into Spring Training:
Mike Rizzo: "First of all, [Brad Lidge is] a character guy. An 80 make-up man. Has been standing at the mound after the last out of a World Series and has been through all the trials and tribulations of a successful closer. This is a guy that brings us a vast amount of knowledge about how to pitch back-ends of the game. He'll rub off on Storen and Clippard and H-Rod, Henry Rodriguez, and [Ryan] Mattheus. He'll be a wealth of information for those guys. He still has swing and miss stuff. His slider is still a big-time swing and miss pitch. His velocity is down from his formidable years, but he's still a big ground ball guy. I think last year he was 54% [ed. note - "57.4%"] ground ball pitcher, and a strikeout guy. I think that with knocking the rust off and being in Spring Training and being healthy, which he is, he just passed a physical yesterday, that he'll walk less guys and still have strikeout ability and ground ball ability.
So, I see him fitting in somewhere in the bullpen. Drew Storen is our closer, Clip is our set-up guy, they're both All-Star caliber pitchers, Brad is an All-Star caliber pitcher, and a veteran presence, so he's going to help us. And you know Davey [Johnson], Davey uses a bullpen, he's got his A, B bullpen and they're will be plenty of games for Brad to pitch in at the end of it and he knows his role and he's really going to grab this thing and be a mentor to our staff."
• You can listen to the entire ESPN 980 interview with Mike Rizzo HERE.