Call me crazy, but I am not thrilled about the impending deal which would bring Roy Oswalt to the Phillies. According to CSN Philly, Oswalt has approved the trade which sends JA Happ, OF Anthony Gose and another farm player to Houston.
Why am I not happy? Take a look:
First the stats: Last year, Oswalt was 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA. Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA. Happ has only pitched 3 games this year, so I do not think it is fair to compare those stats, although he has a 1.76 ERA in those 3 games. So, as for 2009, even if you add in the dreaded “sophomore slump” for Happ, he still at least matches Oswalt.
Plus Happ is younger, cheaper, under team control, composed and, looking at the performance, has pitched as well, if not better, than Oswalt. Also, CBS Sports reported that Oswalt wants to avoid a place with “a large and aggressive media contingent.” What that says to me is, Oswalt prefers to avoid pressure. This does not inspire confidence.
What also does not inspire confidence is that Oswalt is injury-prone and has a recurring back problem that many say will require surgery very soon. Oswalt will be 33 years old in August. His age, plus the injury history make me nervous. Remember the Freddie Garcia $10 million dollar disaster? Garcia arrived injured; the Phillies failed to give him an MRI and basically got damaged goods, losing $10 million dollars in the process. Before his surgery, Garcia got ONE win for the Phillies.
Not only does this trade smell just like the Garcia deal, but it also seems to be the GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. trying to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. Amaro can’t say he did not make a move when the criticism rolls in and bad flashbacks to the Cliff Lee deal continue to surface.
Also, didn’t Amaro say the whole reason for the Lee deal was to replenish the farm system? So, now he is going to deplete that very same farm system for a less capable pitcher than Lee? Because you know it won’t just be Happ; talent from the farm system will be going too. If he was going to trash the farm system for Oswalt, why didn’t he just keep Lee?
So call me crazy, but this deal smells very, very bad to me. Nothing is final yet, so we will all be awaiting the decision and the details. Oswalt has been a top of the line pitcher, no debate there. But would you rather have a guy nearing the final years of his career who already has back issues, or a younger pitcher with big potential for many, many years to come? There are no guarantees in life, but the odds favor youth. Of course, that is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree :O)