Lidge goes to Phillies from Astros for Bourn, Geary

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Phillies became the first
team to make a big move at the general managers' meetings,
acquiring closer Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros along with
infielder Eric Bruntlett on Wednesday night.

Houston received speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, right-hander
Geoff Geary and minor league third baseman Mike Costanzo.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

The 30-year-old Lidge was 5-3 with 19 saves in 27 chances for
the Astros last year after converting 32 of 38 opportunities in
2006. He lost his closer's job to Dan Wheeler one week into the
2007 season but regained the role in mid-June.

"We're getting one of the premier closers in the game,"
Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "The
marketplace, as we all know, is a little scary out there as far as
pitching. We felt this was one of the best ways for us to really

Lidge held batters to a .218 average and averaged 11.8
strikeouts per nine innings. He was sidelined from mid-June to
mid-July because of a pulled oblique muscle in his left side and
had surgery after the season to repair torn cartilage in his right

"Obviously he got some struggles over the course of the year,"
new Astros general manager Ed Wade said

Philadelphia intends to move Brett Myers, who had been the
Phillies' closer, back into the starting rotation. Amaro called him
his No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels or possibly even a 1A.

"He was pretty excited about being on the mound when we
clinched the division in the last game of the season and certainly
did a fine job in that role," Amaro said. "He probably could
thrive in that role certainly, but we felt like our best
opportunity to improve our rotation was to get him back in there."

Wade has a deep knowledge of the
Phillies, having been their general manager for eight years until
he was fired after the 2005 season. Amaro also interviewed to
become the Astros' GM.

The pair
started talking last week, and the deal fell into place about
lunchtime Wednesday.

Before the deal, Wade said he held talks with the agents for
Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand, both free agents.

Bourn batted .277 as a rookie this year with one homer, six RBIs
and 18 steals.

"We receive a speed center fielder, a top of the order bat, who
we think has the ability to be a catalyst for our club for a long
time and hopefully set the stage for Hunter Pence and [Lance] Berkman and Carlos Lee to drive him in," Wade said.

Houston doesn't necessarily intend to move set-up man Chad Qualls
into the closer role. Qualls had five saves last season.

"Qualls has done a quality job for us over the last couple of
season," Wade said. "The numbers that he's put up in the role
that he's been in have been outstanding, but whether or not he ends
up being the answer on the back end remains to be seen."

Bruntlett hit .246 with 14 RBIs last season, seeing time at
shortstop, third base and the outfield.

Geary was 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA with the Phillies. Costano, 24,
batted .270 with 27 homers and 86 RBIs at Double-A Reading.

"Geary give us a middle relief arm, a sinker-slider guy," Wade

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.