Rotoworld has an article for the Houston paper about Brad Lidge being on the trade market with Adam Dunn mentioned as one of the canadiate that Lidge could be dealt for
Lidge deal likeliest if GM to leave mark
By JOHN P. LOPEZ
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Finally free to stretch his offseason imagination, Astros general manager Tim Purpura is finding the winter stove so hot he should be wearing oven mitts.
After deciding against offering Roger Clemens arbitration, the Astros must do something big — for the sake of the team and as a signal to fans that they'll be doing more chasing of championships than resting on laurels in 2006.
It would seem they have done exactly that, entering into discussions with more than one club in hopes of bolstering the outfield with a significant offensive presence.
Just how significant is the question.
The Astros won't confirm such talks, but baseball scouts and executives love to toss out rumors and reports of these things as much as anyone. The trade possibility being mentioned that makes sense, would add punch to the lineup and could keep the Astros churning forward without crippling one part of the team to bolster another involves closer Brad Lidge.
Lidge clearly is the asset that would return the most on the market. The club has had discussions about acquiring Kevin Mench of the Texas Rangers, Juan Encarnacion of the Florida Marlins and Rondell White of the Detroit Tigers, but any offer involving Lidge might command a more significant return.
On the outside looking in for the majority of his first year on the job, Purpura suddenly finds himself with a great bargaining chip — and the toughest decision of his tenure as general manager.
He has the means and motivation to make something happen. How big a gamble is he willing to take?
Pondering the possibilities
Some potential acquisitions would make more sense than others.
Baltimore Orioles slugging shortstop Miguel Tejada, for example, has made it clear that he would like to be traded because he believes the Orioles are not committed to winning. You're thinking that a Lidge-Adam Everett package for Tejada would answer all your dreams.
But hold on. Just because a player says he wants to be traded doesn't mean the club will stumble all over itself trying to fulfill his wish. The Orioles have gone to great lengths to build the team around Tejada. They're not going to start over now.
And as nice a homecoming as it would be to deal for Cincinnati Reds slugger Adam Dunn, who lives in nearby Porter, the Reds for now have no intention of making that deal. Why would they, particularly after trading Sean Casey?
Manny Ramirez? Lots of talent, but an outrageous salary is only one headache Ramirez would bring with him from Boston, even to the Astros' congenial and low-maintenance clubhouse. Don't expect Ken Griffey Jr., either.
That sort of narrows the list of possibilities, doesn't it?
The Philadelphia Phillies just lost closer Billy Wagner to the New York Mets and have a superstar in Bobby Abreu (24 home runs, 102 RBIs last year) who would fit perfectly in the Astros' lineup.
It would be a tough call for Purpura to deal Lidge, who grew up with Purpura in a sense, rising from the minor leagues to a position smack in the middle of a National League pennant run. But as Astros manager Phil Garner has said, "If it doesn't hurt, then it's probably not a good deal."
The Astros strongly believe Chad Qualls and/or Dan Wheeler could fill the closer's role. If the Abreu deal does not materialize and the deal is for an outfielder a notch below Abreu — such as White — Qualls or Wheeler likely would be involved.
Either way, the club is going to lose some premium relief pitching. But that it can withstand. Starting pitching? Brandon Backe and Roy Oswalt are close to untouchable, given the Clemens decision.
The time is now
The 1-2-3 punch of Oswalt, Andy Pettitte and Backe isn't the Big Three of a year ago, of course, but the Astros like the chances of prospects Fernando Nieve and Jason Hirsh stepping into major-league roles.
Teams involved in talks with the Astros also have inquired about Chris Burke, Willy Taveras, Jason Lane, Everett and Backe. While none of those players is untouchable, Garner has made it clear each has a significant upside.
This is the winter of Purpura's professional life. He threw himself into the fire of the hot stove thanks to the decision on Clemens. How he emerges will set the course for 2006 and establish Purpura's most significant mark on the makeup of this team.
Purpura has watched, learned and been a part of the biggest two-year run in Astros history. The only way he appeases fans' hunger and helps the run continue is if he gets in the game.
Let's make a deal.