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All the pieces were in place. Al Pacino. Jennifer Lopez. Christopher Walkin. Heck I mean hate on him all you want, but Ben Affleck was in Goodwill Hunting and directed Gone Baby Gone. Did I mention J-Lo? And yet this was what they got.

So a player was drafted for their ability to contribute in every category? Or someone was thought to have the stuff to be the next true ace in baseball? About that…here are the nominees for the Gigli Award as the biggest flops of the 2009 fantasy baseball season. Injuries not included.

Francisco Liriano

Brad Lidge

Magglio Ordonez

And the winner is Francisco Liriano. Just ignore Garrett Atkins and Corey Hart because both players were going downhill to begin the season. Rafael Furcal gets left off because he will finish with over 90 runs scored and how good could he have been coming off a year he played basically for a month? None of the catchers got included because they are catchers and hopefully that position doesn’t get drafted fast next year and the Geovany Soto lesson is learned.

Ordonez was a great candidate. He fell off the map very hard this year in every category that he was once counted upon and did have an incentive to play well. On the other hand his decline was already happening after the 2008 season. He went down significantly in batting average and home runs. He also was walking less and striking out about the same amount. To see him decline again this season could have been expected, but it was the amount that he fell which made him a nominee.

Like the other two candidates Lidge did have a disabled list stint, but it wasn’t a lengthy trip which in hindsight was a bad decision. Doctors are said to be on the cutting edge of everything today, but the Phillies medical staff could only come up with a strained knee? Even if they made up a few body parts or types of injuries to a body part to keep him from the 9th inning a few more weeks it wouldn’t have caused any hardship to fantasy teams or Phillies fans. A biceps intracision procedure for instance would have allowed Lidge to maybe squeak out of eligibility for this award much like many a Hollywood film has done by going directly to video. Instead the Josh Hamiltons of the world walked away free of scrutiny and Lidge is dreaming about having to face Albert Pujols in another NLCS. Halloween aint so scary anymore is it Brad?

But again with Lidge the general trend last year was going down. Sure he didn’t blow a save, but his numbers were uninspiring in the second half. His ERA was over 2 runs worse after the All-Star break and remember he was throwing high intensity pitches well into October. Keith Foulke did that for the Red Sox in 2004 and the next year his ERA ballooned from 2.17 to 5.91.

The case of Liriano is different. This was supposed to be the final curve in his turnaround from Tommy John. He was trending upward in all ways. He initially struggled, but once he was recalled from the minors he was terrific again. Not back to pre TJ Surgery levels, but still very good. Given the trend for Tommy John “survivors” in year two, his age, and previous dominance the high risk was outweighed by the high reward and most publications had him as a top ten starting pitcher. Today he has 5 wins. His fielding independent ERA is nearing 5. At least Lidge has 31 saves. At least Ordonez will hit close to .300. There is really nothing to like about Liriano this year despite all the positive aspects of his game he had coming into the season. That’s why he is the recipient of the 2009 Gigli Award.

One Response to The Gigli Award

  1. Brozif says:

    I am expect Liriano to be the most valuable of the three players next year…I don't think he fully recoverd. With that said, I won't be selecting him as my #2. That was such a dumb pick.

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