Philadelphia Phillies: Why Roy Oswalt Was an Abject Failure in Philly
It seems the Roy Oswalt experiment is over in Philadelphia. The pitcher was not offered arbitration by the Phillies, which means he is now a free agent.
Phillies general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., traded for Oswalt at the trade deadline during the 2010 season. At this point the Phillies rotation was lead by the two Roys: Halladay and Oswalt.
Unfortunately, what Phillies fans hoped would be a positive addition to their ballclub ended up being a failure. Over his one-and-a-half seasons with the Phillies, Oswalt's numbers declined greatly, and his health became a major issue.
Here are the top five reasons why Roy Oswalt was a failure for the Philadelphia Phillies.
No. 5: Injuries
In 2011 Oswalt pitched just 139 innings for the Phillies, which is the third least amount he has thrown in any season during his career. Reason being is due to a nagging back injury that kept him on the disabled list for a majority of the season.
Many believe this back injury was not new and it had been effecting his performance in Houston. That's why Ed Wade traded him to the Phillies during the 2010 season.
The exact diagnoses are two degenerative discs in his back. An MRI revealed this problem during his time as an Astro. Oswalt even told CSN reporter Jim Salisbury that he has been getting numerous cortisone injections over the years.
Roy also said to Salisbury:
I feel pain when I sit down, stand up, walk, pitch and sleep.
How much longer will these back injuries continue to haunt the once flame-throwing righty?
Well only time will tell, but it certainly has teams wary about signing the former All-Star.
No. 4: The Price Was Too High
The price for the Phillies to acquire Roy Oswalt was pretty steep. They gave up two highly sought-after minor leaguers in Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose and also lefty J.A. Happ.
Happ had high hopes in the Phils organization but was shipped off to the Astros in what seemed to be a great move. Also, Villar and Gose were deemed top prospects in the Phillies minor league system.
In essence, the Phillies traded a healthy, MLB ready starting pitcher and two up-and-coming prospects for, at the time, a 33-year-old injury prone pitcher.
Also, Oswalt was due $5.5 million for the duration of his 2010 season, but the Astros agreed to pay $4 million of that. In 2011 Oswalt made $16 million, but the Astros paid $7 million of his 2011 salary.
He came as a bargain during the 2010 season, but as for the 2011 season in the red pinstripes, the Phillies didn't even come close to getting their $9 million back.
No. 3: His All-Around Production Severely Declined
Due to various factors, Oswalt's production as a Phillie was not as dominant as his time in Houston. Even though he had a much better team in Philadelphia, he still struggled to tally up wins.
His velocity of his fastball dropped three miles per hour, which is a significant amount in the MLB. This was prevalent in his declining strike-out number, with only 93 in the 2011 season. (However he didn't pitch a full season.)
In his 2010 campaign, he went 7-1. However, in 2011 he had a loosing record of 9-10 with an ERA of 3.69.
Also, in just half a season pitched in 2011 he allowed a staggering 153 hits, whereas in a full 2010 season he only allowed nine more hits.
It's clear his back injury had a determining factor in his lackluster performance as a Phillie, which ultimately lead to the team not picking up his option for 2012.
No. 2: Age
This is quite simple, Oswalt is not the young fireball pitcher he was in Houston. When the Phillies traded for him he was 33 and now he is 34 years old.
Jonathan Villar is 20 years old, Anthony Gose is 21 and J.A. Happ is 29. All of these players are either in their prime or up-and-coming, which in today's baseball world is almost better than being in their prime.
The Phillies starting rotation is not that young either, with Roy Halladay at 34, Cliff Lee is 33, Joe Blanton at 31 and the lone young star, Cole Hamels, at 28.
That being said, the Phillies could use another young arm in their starting rotation, so by taking Oswalt out, that leaves room for some of the young arms in the organization the raise to the top.
No. 1: Poor Postseason Performance
The point in acquiring Roy Oswalt at the trade deadline in 2010 was for additional help come playoff time. With the addition of Oswalt, the Phillies were looking to make it back to the World Series in their 2010 season.
In the 2010 NLDS, Oswalt beat the Cincinnati Reds but had an ERA of 5.40 in his only appearance in the series. Then in the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, he posted a 1.84 ERA, but the Phillies lost. The worst was yet to come though.
In the 2011 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, who would later go on to win the World Series, Oswalt pitched one game, which resulted in a loss for the Phils. He pitched six innings and tallied up a 7.50 ERA for that game.
This terrible performance in Game 5 was regarded as the turning point of the series. Maybe the rally squirrel that ran across home plate as Oswalt was delivering a pitch haunted him and the Phillies.
Whatever the reason may be, Roy Oswalt did not perform up to his normal standards in the playoffs. He was supposed to be the extra boost the Phillies needed to get back to the promised land but failed to do so.
I give Ruben Amaro props for acquiring Oswalt because at the time it seemed like a great deal.
Unfortunately Oswalt's service in Philadelphia will be viewed as an abject failure for more reasons than one.