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Jose Contreras, temporary closer?

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When Plan A is Brad Lidge(notes) and Plan B breaks his toe, then you obviously need to have a Plan C. In Philadelphia, the "C" is for "Contreras."

This from MLB.com's Todd Zolecki:

PHILADELPHIA — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said if the Phillies found themselves in a save situation Sunday night, he probably would not choose Brad Lidge to close.

"I want to work him in," Manuel said. "I think he needs work. I think he still needs some pitching time."

Jose Contreras(notes) probably would close until Manuel deems Lidge ready.

Yup, that Jose Contreras. He hasn't delivered a sub-4.50 ERA since 2006, yet he's currently the favorite to close for the first place Phillies. Yikes.

Or maybe this isn't a "Yikes" event. Perhaps it deserves a less judgmental "Hmmm."

Take a look at Jose's 2010 game log:

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When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.

If you didn't already know that all those Ks and scoreless frames belonged to Contreras, you'd be at least moderately interested in the player, wouldn't you? And if we told you that the guy responsible for those stats was an interim closer, you'd be completely sold, no?

Well, this is what you sign up for when you decide not to pay for saves on draft day.

Now that he's working from the 'pen, Contreras is actually throwing harder than ever. Check out the velocity-by-pitch type over at Fangraphs. This year's average fastball is 94.2 mph; every pitch in Contreras' arsenal is 3-4 ticks beyond what you'd expect.

Of course we all know that he could get lit up at any time. It might happen during this week's series with St. Louis, in fact. But while Madson is recovering and Lidge is scuffling (which might be his permanent state), Contreras has a share of the ninth. Do what must be done, speculator.

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Photo via US Presswire

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