Written: 4 pm, 21 May 2010
With the recent trade request of Roy Oswalt, the maximum security prison that is the Houston Astros may soon have a break. Since Oswalt has been one of the most consistent aces over the last ten years, there should be plenty of teams willing to drive the getaway car. But due to his no trade clause and wish to play for a contender, jalopies need not apply.
The SF Giants aren’t exactly a Ferrari, but hovering near first for most of the year they are at least a 2006 BMW 330i.
The Giants most glaring deficiency is fifth starter Todd Wellemeyer, whose road numbers of 0-3, 9.35 ERA, and 17 walks in 17 innings are deplorable. Most of the talk in the Bay Area has focused on calling up either Eric Hacker or Madison Bumgarner from AAA Fresno.
But neither one has proven they can get it done at the highest level. Assuming or projecting they would is simply wishful thinking masquerading as reason.
Meanwhile, Oswalt’s putting up some of the best numbers of his heralded career, 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.85 SO/9. Plus, he offers serious playoff experience having won the 2005 NLCS MVP.
Replacing Wellemeyer with Oswalt would be like finding a cooler of Fiji water in the desert.
If the Giants want to be a playoff team they need to act like it and keep working to improve the team.
Moreover, the Oswalt request could be the opportunity the Giants need to cut ties with some of their iffy signings the last few years, specifically Edgar Renteria, Freddie Sanchez, and Mark DeRosa. None of them has really got it going in San Francisco, so maybe a change of scenery would be best.
Furthermore, with Matt Downs looking like an everyday player lately, putting him on the bench to make room for Sanchez’s paycheck, I mean Sanchez had to be painful . He comes up with the key hit versus the Giants’ Kryptonite, San Diego, then scores the winning run on a clutch hit by Eugenio Velez. His reward, hit the bench, kid.
One solution solves many problems: trade De Rosa, Sanchez, Renteria, and their high salaries to Houston for Oswalt and his high salary.
The salaries are comparable with Oswalt owed 33M over the next two years and 34.5M going to Sanchez, Renteria, and DeRosa.
The trade is actually a win win since Houston just released 2B Kaz Matsui and starting SS Tommy Manzella is hitting .190. Insert Sanchez and Renteria and juggle them with 2B/SS Jeff Keppinger and the Astros’ infield just got a lot better. Once DeRosa comes back from the DL he would provide some pop as a utility player.
Furthermore, the Giants get better by subtraction. Juan Uribe has just about been their best hitter going back to the second half of last year, yet he’s behind Renteria and Sanchez on the depth chart.
Since Houston needs to rebuild and Oswalt is the prize jewel in the trade, the Giants would have to offer some respectable prospects.
Fortunately, their farm system has a plethora of them.
The AAA Fresno Grizzlies are so stacked with talent they boast a MILB best record of 28-12 and could probably beat the Astros in a best of seven series. Hacker, Bumgarner, Velez, Waldis Joaquin, Brett Pill, Tyler Graham, and Brock Bond stand out.
Barring Buster Posey, the Giants could trade anyone on the farm.
Brandon Belt, .381BA, 1.051OPS, 10SB, is destroying Class A Advanced for San Jose, and at 22 years of age is an intriguing prospect.
Despite Astros GM Ed Wade’s obstinate attitude, “Roy’s contract has a no-trade clause, not a trade-me clause,” the Astros are likely going to have to make a move.
They might prefer packaging Oswalt with Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman who make an inflated 19M and 14.5M this year, respectively. But with both players underperforming that seems unlikely.
Realistically, the Giants are a dark horse, thanks to their sometimes fangless lineup. But should that keep them from trying?
After all, with one of the most potent rotations around, adding Oswalt would surely upgrade the team from being a 2006 BMW 330i to a 2010 BMW M6 Convertible, and make it possible to execute Oswalt’s prison break smoothly.