The 2006 season has been a tumultuous one for the Phillies, but one of the few highlights has been the solid bullpen work of free agent signee Tom Gordon. As of today, Flash has a 2.51 ERA, 27 saves, 59 Ks and 15 BB in 46.2 innings, all at a significantly lower cost than they would have had to pay Billy Wagner.
But, there's more...
During a one month stretch, from June 24th to July 24th, Gordon got knocked around pretty badly, sporting a 6.75 ERA and four home runs in 10.2 innings. However, he maintained a solid K/BB rate of 4.00, so it's possible that he just hit a patch of bad luck; he was unlikely to maintain his early season performance for an entire year anyway.
If we take Pat Gillick at his word (and I'm not saying we should), the Phillies are unlikely to seriously contend next season.
An elite and/or expensive closer is a luxury only a contending team can afford. Gordon is due to make $7M next year, and $5.5M in 2008, when he'll be 40 years old.
I'm not sure Gordon would get through waivers at this point, and as long as the Phillies are hanging onto the fringes of the Wild Card "race," Gordon is going to stay put. However, if this weekend's series with Cincinnati goes badly, I would be tempted to see what I can get for Flash, or at the very least try to move him in the offseason.
Not all general managers exhibit the Ed Wade Pavlovian response to Former Closers, but surely some American League powerhouse looking for bullpen help would be willing to bring Flash on board as a set-up guy or injury replacement.