The Pros and Cons of the Phillies acquiring Roy Oswalt
"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN'" WITH JOE VALLEE
As you all know by now, the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes are hot and heavy as the trade deadline approaches next weekend. As of Sunday, the Phillies are reportedly still expressing interest in Oswalt. Guess what Yankees? HA! Dan Haren was just shipped to the Angels. Oddly enough, Haren was supposed to start against the Phillies this Tuesday. And although the Phillies had expressed interest, scouts have said his velocity has dipped over the last several years. Haren has also surrendered 23 home runs this season, so Citizens Bank Park might not have been the most welcoming place for him.
I shouldn't be laughing here. I would have gladly taken Haren. Now that he is off the table, let's face it: it's either Oswalt or bust. However, there are pros and cons to acquiring Oswalt. Here are some of them:
1. Oswalt prefers a small market team
It's no surprise that Oswalt reportedly agreed to waive his $16 million dollar option in 2012 and accept a trade to the Cardinals. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to knock the way anybody lives their life, but when one of Oswalt's prized possessions is a tractor trailer, you get the impression that Philadelphia might not exactly be his number one destination on his wish list. Can you imagine if Oswalt got rocked, had a bad outing, and the fans ate him alive here?
In saying that, would Ed Wade (of the Kevin Millwood for Johnny Estrada trade) be stupid enough to send Oswalt to a division rival in St. Louis? (don't answer that) And besides, the Cardinals recently extended Matt Holliday, and the team has yet to sign Albert Pujols to a long-term deal. With Oswalt slated to make an estimated $8 million for the remainder of 2010 and $16 million in 2011, the chances of the redbirds getting Oswalt and-or signing Pujols after 2011 makes this more of a dilemma than a solution. Who knows, the Cardinals might lay all their cards (no pun intended) on the table and put together a nice package, but they are reportedly offering next to nothing for Oswalt.
2. Oswalt's contract
I have never seen two highly coveted pitchers at the deadline with more options and buyouts in their contracts than Oswalt's and Haren's. If the Phillies decide to pick up Oswalt's $16 million dollar option in 2012, you are paying Oswalt an estimated $40 million over the next three years. Moreover, Oswalt will be 35 years old at the end of the contract. Despite the talk of Oswalt being injury prone, he still has averaged 30 starts over the last seven years. On paper, this doesn't seem too smart. However, when you can throw Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels in a five game series, taking your chances on him for the next three years is enticing, but it's still a gamble- one you don't usually see the Phillies take.
3. Who exactly would the Phillies give up for Oswalt?
While the Phillies allegedly have some of the best prospects in A-ball, the cupboard is almost bare from the barrage of prospects traded over the last four years. Domonic Brown is pretty much untouchable. A three team deal could be a factor in acquiring Oswalt. The Astros have no use for trade rumor magnet Jayson Werth in 2010 or beyond. However, the Tampa Bay Rays do. They will probably lose Carl Crawford AND Carlos Pena after 2010, so they might just go all in while their window is still open. J.A. Happ, Werth, and possibly J.C. Ramirez (of the Cliff Lee trade) might be who the Phils offer for Oswalt.
A Final Thought
As previously mentioned, trading Werth and inserting Brown will result in Ryan Howard getting next to nothing to hit for the remainder of the season. The Phillies offense and their bull pen are the team's main issues here, but that's not to say their rotation can't use an upgrade. Jamie Moyer will most likely not be back this season and his career might be finished. I don't care whether Kyle Kendrick beat Ubaldo Jimenez or Cy Young on Saturday, he is too inconsistent. Joe Blanton has been unreliable all season, and the jury is still out on Happ. If the Astros want Happ in a possible deal, would you trade 27 year-old Happ in exchange for two years of 32 (soon to be 33) year-old Oswalt? With the team selling out every night, and with so much money tied to Howard, Halladay, and many other veterans, Phillies management owes it to the players AND the fans to make a deadline deal. However, it has to be realistic and beneficial for the Phils if a trade is to happen. The trade deadline is Saturday, so stay tuned.
And in the meantime, Keep On Phightin.'
Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.
Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org