According to Yahoo! Sports, via the AP, Roy Oswalt has approved a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies and will be sent there from Houston in exchange for Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ and two prospects, pending a physical. With the Phillies amidst a seven-game winning streak after stumbling for the better part of 2010, they’re about to make a great deal. More importantly, it’s safe to say Steve Phillips would love it.
Never have my emotions been more mixed about a deal then they were when Philadelphia unloaded Cliff Lee to make room for Roy Halladay. The younger Lee was coming off a dominant postseason and looked — and still looks — to be one of the best left-handers in Major League Baseball. Yes, Roy Halladay dominated the AL so it was only assumed that he’d roast the weaker NL and yes, we entertained the idea of Halladay winning 25 games with the Phillies. Oh yeah, and Doc also threw a perfect game this season and is still very much in the Cy Young discussion with a 12-8 record to accompany a 2.21 ERA.
However, it seemed like the Phillies were playing with fire when they made the Lee-Halladay trade. They were dealing one great pitcher for another who is slightly more seasoned and dominant, but take into account the ages of the two and it almost seemed like a wash. How much stronger can your rotation possibly get when you’re giving up a Cliff Lee and not bringing in two pitchers to replace him? Philadelphia waited half a season, but they’re about to bring in that second arm.
Oswalt is touting a 6-12 record this season and his ERA is an impressive 3.42. Need I say more? The Astros are obviously not a very good team, and it’s safe to assume Oswalt’s record could take a complete 180-degree turn with a championship contender like Philadelphia. Aside from last season, Oswalt has eclipsed the 200-inning mark every year since 2004. He’s one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and it’d be tough to imagine him not making the Phillies rotation significantly deeper down the stretch and, more importantly, in the postseason.
The Phillies find themselves 3.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and 2.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race with plenty of baseball left to play. While it’s common for teams to make a big acquisition when they’ve hit a skid, I love the fact that the Phillies are making this deal on the heels of a seven-game winning streak. There’s no better time to improve your team than when it’s at the top of it’s game, and by bringing in Roy Oswalt the Phillies have positioned themselves perfectly to make a push for the postseason while cementing a great playoff rotation if they manage to get there.
AP source: Oswalt says OK for trade to Phillies [Yahoo! Sports]