Ed Wade: A Leagacy Tarnished

Pat EganCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2009

In Philadelphia when you think of Ed Wade chances are you probably don't think of anything good. Wade left Philadelphia with his held down low. A man who resembled a dog with his tail between his legs. He was thought of as a failure. The man who could never get it done. Many criticize Ed Wade and his regime for "ruining" the Phillies. He was thought of as an idiot in Philadelphia and the mere mention of his name at the World Championship ceremony brought on the boo's of the Philadelphia faithful. But i want to defend Ed Wade and hopefully change your opinion.

Let me first start off with criticizing Wade. Pat Gillick thrived at the deadline. He managed to pick up Jeff Conine, Jamie Moyer, Randal Simon, Joe Blanton, Kyle Lohse, Matt Stairs, and Scott Eyre all around deadline time. He went after it at the deadline and looked like the season professional we were told he would be. Wade on the other hand looked like an 18 year old entering his first strip club. He had no idea what to do. Year after year he basically acquired no one worth a damn (Turk Wendall, Todd Jones, Mike Williams, Michael Tucker, Todd Pratt, Felix Rodriguez, Corey Lidle, and Matt Kata)

But there were two glaring trades. This is where Ed Wade looks a lot like JP Riccardi (except Wade made moves and Riccardi did not) Wade traded Curt Schilling and disgruntled 3B Scott Rolen. Now in Wade’s defense both players requested a trade. It wasn’t as if Wade just felt like dealing away his all stars. In 2000 He dealt Curt Schilling.

The trade was:

Arizona gets:

Curt Schilling

Philadelphia gets:

Travis Lee

Omar Daal

Vicente Padillia

Nelson Figueroa.

So let’s look at exactly what these players ended up being in this trade that was extremely bad.

Well start with first basemen Travis Lee. Lee was a top prospect who was originally drafted by the Twins but because of some rule in MLB got declared a free agent and signed a huge contract with the DBacks. He was their First basemen in their inaugural season and looked like he would be pretty decent. He only played in Philly for 2 1/2 seasons but in his first full season in Philly he did hit 20 Hr's and had 90 RBI's. He played above average defense but wasn’t worth Schilling.

Neither was pitcher Nelson Figueroa. I don’t know if he was supposed to be good.....but he wasn’t. Finally pitching some innings for the Phillies in 2001 he pitched in 89 innings for the Phil’s with a 3.94 ERA. The Phillies thought so highly of him that they waived him.....HA HES A MET NOW.

Pitcher Omar Daal was pretty bad as well. In the year 2000, the year we traded for him, he led all of MLB......IN LOSES. In 2 seasons with the Phillies he never had an ERA below 4.46. In November of 2001 he was traded to the Dodgers for Eric Junge and Jesus Cordero. So just to recap so far Ed Wades first major trade brought 4 players. 3 of them were gone by the year 2002. just 2 years after the trade.

The only one who was worth SOMETHING (i guess) was pitcher Vicente Padilla. Padilla pitched in 4 full seasons for the Phillies and was an all star in 2002 when he had a 14-11 record and a 3.28 ERA. He was also the last pitcher to pitch in the all star game that ended in a tie. But while 2002 was a great year it was never duplicated. Padilla constantly came into camp out of shape and always was a what if. He was traded in 2005 to the Rangers for Ricardo Rodriguez who was cut in spring training.

God this trade was bad. Schilling has gone on to win 3 WS rings with the Diamondbacks and the Red Sox while none of these players made it into the 2006 season with the Phillies. The other awful trade was Scott Rolen. Scott made it known that he was mad about the Phillies trading away Schilling and told the team he would not resign after the 2002 season. So the team traded him to "Baseball Heaven" St Louis.

St Louis gets:

Doug Nickle

Scott Rolen

Philadelphia gets

Placido Polanco

Mike Timlin

Bud Smith

The best player in this deal was second/third basemen Placido Polanco. Polanco filled in for the rest of the 2002 season at third base until switching to second for the 2003 season. Polanco was actually a really good player and if it wasn’t for the fact that he didn’t want to play third and that Chase Utley was waiting in the wings he could still possibly be on the team. He hit: .296, .289, .298, and .316 as a Phillie in his career. He was traded in June of 2005 to the Tigers for Reliever Ugeth Urbina. At the time it seemed like a great trade. We really had no use for Polanco because Utley was in the majors and this gave us bullpen depth with Urbina who at the time of the trade had a 2.63 ERA. But the ERA didn’t transfer over to the NL where he had a 4.13 ERA for the Phillies and proceeded to do some gardening in the offseason with a machete.

Pitcher Mike Timlin was a quality reliever who at the time of the trade had a 2.51 ERA and actually had a decent year with the Phil’s finishing 2002 with a 3.79 ERA. He then booked it for Boston and won a WS with them.

Pitcher Bud Smith pitched a No Hitter with the Cardinals and looked to have a really bright future on the mound. But he was damaged goods and never pitched a game as a Phillie.

So basically this trade was Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco. Look those two trades were awful but let’s look at some of the positives of Ed Wade’s regime here in Philly

Ed is constantly criticized for the signing of David Bell at 3rd base. He hit .195 his first year and was getting paid 3 mil to do so. But I don’t blame Ed Wade for this. Ed Wade was put in between a rock and a hard place with this situation. In 2002 he had his Third basemen demand a trade and he acquired a decent 3rd baseman in the trade in Placido Polanco. But the plan went to hell when Polanco made it known that he didn’t want to play 3rd base. This forced the Phillies to go out and get the best 3rd basemen on the market. It wasn’t a strong market for the hot corner that year and Ed overpaid for a need at 3rd. If anyone for this signing I blame Polanco. Guy did fine at 3rd and should have played his career at 3rd for the Phil’s instead of holding up the progression of Utley at second.

Wade is also given a lot of hell for the trade of Kevin Millwood. This trade is not as bad as everyone thinks because of one reason. When the Phillies made the trade for Kevin Millwood it was to fill the void that Tom Glavine never took when the Phil’s offered him a contract. So Wade went out and trade catching prospect Johnny Estrada for Kevin Millwood straight up. While Millwood NEVER pitched like an ace in any year with the Phillies the trading of Estrada turned out to be good for the future. Because they traded their only catching prospect this forced the Phillies to go out and draft a few catchers fairly high. Their names were Jason Jaramillio in the second round and LOU MARSON in the 4th. That last name is one of the reasons we got Cliff Lee.

Ok How about the whole no trade clause to Bobby and Pat. While Bobby was a shame because Gillick really got screwed in that deal (Jesus Montero, Carlos Monteserois, Matt Smith, Cj Henry) with only Smith ever making the majors. Pat's no trade clause ended up playing a crucial part in last season. You see when Pat Gillick took over the team in 2006 he had a deal set up with the Baltimore Orioles to send Pat Burrell for pitcher Rodrigo Lopez straight up. Both teams agreed but Pat blocked the trade. I think we can all agree that we don’t win in 2007 or 2008 without Pat Burrell. Like him or not he was a key piece. So because of the no trade clause it kept Pat in Phille pinstripes.

While the signing of Jim Thome looks bad now I didn’t hear anyone objecting to it when it did happen. No one noticed at the time that Ryan Howard had one hell of a year in Lakewood the previous season. Because no one pays attention to Low Class A. We eventually traded Thome to the White Sox for Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Haigwood. We traded Robinson Tejada, Daniel Haigwood for David Delluci. David Delluci booked it for Cleveland but we picked up a compensation pick and we took catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud who’s having a solid season in Lakewood. Gio was traded along with Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia. 10 mill and 1 win later he’s still trying to get back on track. So after all was said and done the trade basically looks like Jim Thome was traded for Aaron Rowand, Travis D'Arnaud, and Freddy Garcia. The Garcia trade wasn’t Wade it was Gillick so you can’t blame that one on Wade.

My biggest Wade point is the way the man drafted. He never gets credit for it but what he lacked in his ability to trade he made up for in the draft:

Carlos Ruiz-signed out of Panama under Wade

Ryan Howard-5th round pick under Wade

Chase Utley-1st round pick under Wade

Shane Victorino- Rule 5 pick under Wade

Pat Burrell- 1st round pick under Wade

Cole Hamels- 1st round pick under Wade

Brett Myers- 1st round pick under Wade

Ryan Madson- 9th round under Wade

All of the players that we traded to get Brad Lidge were also put in place by Wade (might be one of the reasons why he traded for them) Also Ed Wade turned DOWN a deal that would have sent Madson, Bourn, and Utley to Oakland for Barry Zito. Good thing he didn’t do that one. Now with the good does come the bad. Back in 2005 there was pressure from the fans to do something with Ryan Howard because we had Jim Thome. So Wade called up the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and offered Ryan Howard for CF Rocco Balldelli straight up and the Rays turned it down. Thank God. Many people also give Wade credit for the Bobby Abreu trade that sent Bobby to the Phil’s for aging veteran Kevin Stocker.

And let’s not forget maybe the biggest move of the Ed Wade regime. The hiring of Charlie Manuel. I was one of them. One of the people who thought this signing was just stupid. Thought that Wade was getting a "yes man" and not going after the winner that was Jim Leyland. Wade was almost tar and feathered for this signing. Looks to be the right pick after all.

Look I’m not saying Wade was the GM of the century. But let’s give credit where credit is due. The guy put the core of the team together that won the World Series. And while Pat Gillick filled in the empty holes he wasn’t exactly free from persecution. He traded Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez for 1 win in Freddy Garcia. Sent Cory Lidell and Abreu to the Yankees for 4 prospects. Only 1 made the majors and our of the other 3 they’ve never made it past AA. He also gave 8 million dollars to Adam Eaton.

When you evaluate a GM you have to look at the good and the bad. Wade was persecuted for calling Cole Hamels and Gavin Floyd untouchables. But Floyd looks to have a nice career in Chicago and Cole is the reigning WS MVP. For all of Wade’s faults the guy did has some smart moves. So i thank Ed Wade because without him. Last season DOESNT HAPPEN.



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