The Nationals announced Thursday they have signed two-time All-Star reliever Brad Lidge to a one-year contract. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said Lidge brings a lot to help make the bullpen better.
Lidge comes in with 223 saves and 26 wins in 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros and was a National League All-Star in 2005 and 2008.
“The guy obviously has a real good track record,” McCatty said. “A guy that can be in the bullpen and not only still has the ability to pitch, but he can also help the guys with the mental approach to the game, although they have done a pretty good job the last couple of years. He is a quality guy. Any time you can strengthen the bullpen with a pitcher like that, too, is a good move. He is a mentor, but he is also a dad sometimes, a brother. It is good to have that in the bullpen.
“(Lidge) has got great stuff and the velocity is good. (Lidge) has the split (fastball) so he is awfully, awfully tough for the hitters. He has got confidence (and) is not afraid when he is out there. It is a really a plus thing to have.”
McCatty said Lidge will fit in nicely with a talented bullpen.
“With (Drew) Storen having done what he has done, (and Tyler) Clippard, (Sean) Burnett, (Henry) Rodriguez and all the other guys (already here), if Lidge can be what he was before that is a plus. We will see how it falls into everything.” McCatty said.
McCatty said Lidge could be anything from a specialist to a one-inning guy and the Nationals will see during spring training and through discussions with manager Davey Johnson where they will use the veteran right-hander.
The Nationals pitching coach envisions a scenario where Lidge could come in sometimes to finish off the seventh inning or another day work the entire eighth frame. McCatty said that Lidge has the experience to subsitute for Storen when he saves three or four games in a row.
“There might be a situation where Storen has pitched a few days in a row, (Lidge) is fresh, you use him there. I think his value is that he can do different roles.”