Phillies Look To Trade Rookie of The Year

Adam RichardsonContributor IJuly 27, 2010

A little over a year ago I got on my soapbox and screamed at the top of my lungs.

Some called it crazy. Some called me crazy. I begged for all trade conversations of J.A. Happ to end at conve…. One year, A Sporting News and Player's Choice Rookie of the Year Award later and we are back in the same place; J.A. Happ is apparently the main trade piece in talks with the Astros for Roy Oswalt.

The Phillies missed out on the Dan Haren sweepstakes (although it doesn’t appear they ever truly entered) and with Jayson Werth showing signs of life for the first time in two months the Phillies appear to be willing to let him play out his contract, watch him walk at the end of the season while they collect two first-round draft picks. 

While a deal between Houston and Philadelphia seemed all but certain last Thursday, the Cardinals jumped in and slowed the process. In that same time the Phillies returned from their mid-west road trip to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and swept their series with the Rockies giving them eight straight home victories. The team’s recent play has led to questions about whether or not they need to acquire another starting arm.

That is a worthwhile debate but what shouldn’t be debated is J.A. Happ’s importance to this team now and in the future. When I wrote a nearly identical article last year, Happ was 5-0 with a 3.04 era. He finished the season at 2.93 with a 12-4 record (Oswalt went 8-6 with a 4.12 era). He won to Rookie of The Year awards and was runner-up for the Jackie Robinson Award and while the Phillies’ lefty has spent a good portion of this season on the DL he still has a 1.76 era and only 3 earned runs in 15.1 innings of work. Happ has a winning percentage a full 100 points higher and an ERA .31 points lower than Oswalt.

Some believe you can make stats convey what you want, so here are the tangibles;

JA Happ is making $425,000 and will be arbitration eligible for at least another year while Oswalt makes $41million over the next two and half years.

Roy Oswalt doesn’t want to deal with a hypercritical media, which is great because the media in Philadelphia is well known for its understanding and compassion right? Roy Oswalt doesn’t want to pitch to boo birds, or potentially hostile fans.  Another non-factor in Philly right?

JA Happ is 28. Oswalt turns 33 in three weeks. Oswalt has been dealing with a bad back, hip and torso over the last three years. He still has a disc protrusion in that bad back, which was revealed in a 2009 MRI.

Like Cole Hamels, Happ is young and shown early promise. Unlike Hamels, Happ has shown a greater resiliency to push through bad innings or starts when he doesn't have his "A+" stuff. JA Happ is the potentially best arm the Phillies will have in their rotation five to six years down the road.


 Please read and repeat: [there are modifications for relevancy sake)



"…don't forget the Phillies are a World Series team and J.A., who might not be as obviously dominant as Tim Lincecum or have the bright shiny packaging (aka "hype”) of a David Price, has been the best [young] pitcher on the Phillies staff this year [last three years]. Ruben Amaro we know you're aggressive and we know you want to push all your chips to the middle. But please think long and hard about J.A. Happ because, while there are no guarantees in baseball….J.A. has proven himself more than reliable [recent injury aside] in a rotation with plenty of questions."

                                                            Adam Richardson (July 9, 2009)