The Phillies made a big splash on the trade market today, which puts on hold whatever else I was writing about today.
Roy Oswalt, formerly of the Houston Astros, has joined the Fightin' Phils for the stretch run of the season. He was received in exchange for last year's rookie sensation LHP JA Happ and two minor leaguers Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. The minor leaguers are of note only because they are young (18 or 19) unpolished baseball products, which is valuable to a team in a situation like the Astros.
This, however, is a deal fraught with layers of complexity. The Phillies receive another ace-type pitcher, not only for the rest of this year, but also all of 2011 with a mutual option for 2012. That is the simple fact. All the rest is details and the reading of GM's intentions.
About Roy Oswalt
He is a 32 year old right handed starting pitcher who is leading the league in losses this year with 12. How's that for the cynical view? Of course, this is a terrible measure for quantifying pitcher performance over a season. He has a 3.42 ERA, 1.1 WHIP and has 120 K and 34 BB and 129 IP. The K rate is his best since his rookie year in 2001, but he has consistently averaged 6.8-7.5 K/9 over the course of his career. Of his losses this year, 7 were received in quality starts. He's had 12starts where he's pitched at least 7 innings and allowed 3 runs or less. Make-up wise, he's pretty tenacious and is a fastball/slider dominant pitcher. Interestingly, the most similar player on his comparative list is Roy Halladay.
What This Means for the 2010 Standings
This was the reason the deal was made. Oswalt effectively replaces Happ/injury replacement in the rotation. This has the possibility to add an additional 3 wins (my guess)to the Phillies if his performance for the rest of the season mirrors his performance for the Astros in 2010.
What This Means Economically in 2010
There will be no change in the payroll because the Astros are paying the remainder of this year's salary as part of the deal.
What This Means for 2011
Jayson Werth is probably not going to be resigned because he wants his payday (understandably). Oswalt will only be paid $12 million by the Phillies (the rest by the Astros). The rotation will stay intact through 2011.
What this Means Psychologically
This feels like a net positive for the Phillies fans and management. Only 2.5 games outside of a playoff spot heading into tonight, the Phillies need the emotional charge from an addition such as this. When their best player (Utley) returns at the beginning of September along with the influx of the injured Victorino and Rollins back to the lineup in August, they will be in a great position for the stretch drive. In addition, there's that prospect, Domonic Brown, that can add valuable at-bats in a platoon or off the bench (once Victorino returns). Also, maybe Phillies fans can know that these two guys are not walking back through the door.
es, dealing Lee will always be considered a mistake, but they reloaded without giving up too much in return.
I give the deal a big thumbs up from a fan's and analyst's point of view.
Now, I'm waiting for the first Oswalt card featuring him on the Phillies.