The Philadelphia Phillies completed a trade with the Houston Astros yesterday for three time All-Star Roy Oswalt . In return the Astros got J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villan.
Before everyone rips Omar Minaya's head off for letting Oswalt go to the Phillies, let's see what the Mets would have had to offer to match this deal.
To match the young left hander in Happ, the Mets would have needed to send a young major league ready pitcher of their own; Jon Niese. Gose matches well with minor league outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Villan isn't much, so the Mets would have probably needed to add a guy like Josh Satin.
So to match this deal the Mets would have needed to trade Niese, Nieuwenhuis, and Satin in return for Oswalt. Would you have done that trade? Based on what I've been hearing from Mets fans, not many would have done that deal.
The Astros' GM is Ed Wade, who used to be the GM of the Phillies. Now I'm not saying that his plan was to give Oswalt to the Phillies, but he probably felt more comfortable dealing with the Phillies. He probably still has many friends in the Phillies front office, so it was easier to work out a deal with them than a GM like Minaya.
Now onto the actual players in the deal.
Oswalt is a very good pitcher, one of the more underrated in baseball. He's now 32, which certainly isn't old, but he seems to be a bit past his prime years when he was a Cy Young caliber pitcher between 2001 and 2007. He had a rough year in 2009, going 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA, throwing just 181.1 innings, his lowest innings total since 2003 and his highest ERA ever.
This year his record is bad, but that's because he's on a terrible team. He has a 3.42 ERA, 120 strike-outs, 34 walks, a 1.109 WHIP in 129 innings pitched. There is some concern about him going to Citizens Bank Park, which is a very hitters friendly park. But Minute Maid Park isn't exactly a pitchers paradise. Oswalt's career numbers at Citizens Bank Park are very good though. He's 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in the four games he's started there.
Earlier I compared Happ to Niese, and he could be even better than Niese. Last season Happ went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, three complete games, two shut outs, and 119 strike outs in 166 innings pitched.