Philadelphia Phillies Open Season Against 'Affiliate' Houston Astros

Brandon HodnettContributor IMarch 30, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies Open Season Against 'Affiliate' Houston Astros

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies have exchanged so many players in the years since Ed Wade left Philadelphia and became the GM in Houston that the Astros are virtually a farm team for the Phillies.

    The Astros play in Class AAA-and-a-half and willingly send up stars to Philadelphia and accept the contracts of underperforming major leaguers.

    Several of these players that have traded places—Eric Bruntlett, Geoff Geary, Pedro Feliz, Randy Wolf, Brandon Duckworth, Billy Wagner and Chris Coste—are on neither team this year.

    Former Astro Brad Lidge is starting the season on the DL, but the other former Astro, Roy Oswalt, is ready for another prime season. The Astros have three former Phillies in their starting rotation this season and will open the season with former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers on the mound.

    There will be a few other familiar faces on the Astros roster as they come to town, looking to continue their four-game win streak against Philadelphia.

    Who are they, would you want any of them back, and will any more Astros and Phillies trade places this season?

Former GM Ed Wade: The Man Behind the Curtain

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    No one, and I mean no one, was sad when Ed Wade left town and went to Houston (except maybe Astros fans).

    Some would even say he's done more good for the Phillies since he got the job in the Houston. He gave us a lights-out Brad Lidge and a revitalized Roy Oswalt and even agreed to eat up $11 million of Oswalt's contract.

    Wade's mentality is build for the future, and he voraciously gobbles up prospects. Phillies fans rarely give him credit for the prospects he kept in the system: Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, etc.

    Little-known fact: Current Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. also interviewed for the Astros GM position, but they went with the more "experienced" Wade.

    Little-known fact No. 2: Wade began in Philadelphia's PR department in the '70s and moved to Houston's PR department before coming back to Philadelphia as the eventual GM.

Sergio Escalona, Pitcher

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    Sergio Escalona pitched in 14 games for the Phillies last season, compiling an unimpressive 4.61 ERA. The Phillies sent him down to Houston in January in exchange for a promising prospect, second baseman Albert Cartwright.

    Both players are beginning the season in the minors.

Nelson Figueroa, Pitcher

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    Nelson Figueroa was part of the trade that dealt ace Curt Schilling to Arizona in 2000. Thanks a lot, Ed Wade!

    Figueroa bounced around the league and then back to Philadelphia for a forgettable 13-game stint, and he is now reunited with Ed Wade in Houston for the 2011 season. Figueroa is listed as the Astros' fifth starter.

Jason Michaels, Outfielder

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    If you thought the Phillies had outfield problems this season, remember when Jason Michaels was a fixture in our outfield? (Also, remember when the ball popped out of his glove in Atlanta and went over the fence for a home run? Video on YouTube's baseball blunders trailer.)

Brett Myers, Pitcher

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    Brett Myers struck out 180 batters and went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA last season with Houston. If he can stay healthy/out of trouble, he'll continue to be a decent pitcher for the Astros.

    From the looks of it, apparently he left his razor behind in Philadelphia.

J.A. Happ, Pitcher

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    J.A. Happ is one of the former Phillies that I wish we could have held on to, but swapping him for Roy Oswalt and $11 million cash is an offer you can't refuse.

    Happ showed promise in 2009 with Philadelphia, going 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 119 strikeouts. In his only start against Philadelphia last season, Happ got the victory, allowing only two runs in six innings.

Michael Bourn, Outfielder

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    Michael Bourn would have also been a good player to keep if possible, but there's always a chance Ed Wade will deal him back to Philadelphia.

    Of course, we did get Lidge's perfect season and a World Series ring in exchange for Bourn, so I won't carp too much, but I'm sure the Phillies wouldn't mind having him in the outfield this season. Bourn won a Gold Glove in 2009 and 2010.

    His batting average isn't the greatest, but when he gets on base, he can fly. In three seasons with Houston he's swiped 41, 61 and 52 bases respectively.

Houston-Philadelphia Trades in 2011?

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    Ed Wade has until July 31 to help out his former club again this season. Ed, we wouldn't mind taking right- handed Hunter Pence off your hands. The 27-year-old RF hit .282 last season and cranked 25 home runs with 91 RBI.