Houston Astros: Re-Evaluating the Roy Oswalt Trade
At the end of July in 2010 the Houston Astros made the first move in their rebuilding process by trading Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies for a couple of prospects. The Astros then used one of those prospects, Anthony Gose, to work a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace.
We are now almost a year removed from the trade and it is time to re-evaluate the Astros trade and if it was a good move for the club. For the sake of argument, the trade with Toronto will be included since it happened the same day as the Oswalt trade.
What Has Roy Oswalt Done?
The answer to that question is "exactly what he did in Houston." He has not been a disappointment for the Phillies since coming over. Last year he finished with a 7-1 record, an ERA of 1.74, and 74 strikeouts in 83 innings pitched.
He also pitched in four postseason games, going 1-1 with an ERA of 2.75. And this season has been no different as he has gone 3-3 with an ERA of 2.70. Oswalt is a big part of the Phillies Power Staff that includes Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.
What Have the Phillies Done?
The Phillies fell one series short of returning to the World Series for a third straight year as they fell to the Giants in six games last year.
However, the team hasn't missed a step this year as they have the best record in the National League and has built a three-game lead in the NL East over second place Florida Marlins.
What Have the Astros Players Done?
Young left hander J.A. Happ was the key piece coming back to the Astros in the Oswalt trade and has been somewhat of a disappointment to this point. He finished last year with the Astros with a 6-4 record and an ERA of 3.70 but this year has struggled going 3-7 with an ERA that stands at 4.65.
Happ was the runner-up in the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year race and hopefully he can get regain that form for the Astros going forward.
Jonathan Villar is a young shortstop prospect with great potential but is struggling at the minor league level. Between High-A and Double-A this season he is hitting .257 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 50 games. At 20 years of age, he still has a few more years to work on his craft and become the major league shortstop that the Astros envisioned.
The player that is making this trade somewhat even is...
First baseman Brett Wallace has looked like a major league first baseman in 2011 and has made this trade somewhat bearable for Astros fans. This season he is hitting .315 with four home runs and 18 RBI.
He has been arguably the best hitter on the Astros, along with Hunter Pence. Wallace had the tough assignment of following Astro greats at first base in Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman but so far in 2011 he looks up to the challenge and has been the key piece in the Oswalt trade.
What Have the Astros Done?
After the Astros traded away Roy Oswalt, things were looking up for this team as they finished the second half of 2010 with a record above .500. Things have been much different for the team in 2011 as they have stumbled to a 23-37 record.
It seems to be a regular thing for this team to lose lead after lead, but this has been more of an issue with the bullpen, and no player in this trade would be able to fix that at this point.
This may come as a surprise but I think the Astros won this trade. The Phillies and the Astros are at two different stages for their organizations. The Phillies have built a top team in MLB and have been competing for championships the past three years. They are one or two pieces away from another title.
The Astros are rebuilding and even if they had Roy Oswalt they would most likely still be in the bottom of the NL Central. The Astros were able to cut payroll and bring in three players, two who are already key contributors and a third who looks to be on his way to the Astros.
The Astros have their sights set on the future, one that would have had an aging Roy Oswalt, past his prime.
Right now, this trade looks to favor the Phillies, but a couple of years from now I think this trade will look much more even, with the edge going to the Astros.