The saga has finally wound itself up, with SP Roy Oswalt accepting a trade on Thursday afternoon and waiving his no-trade clause. I am including the trade made between the Astros and Blue Jays in this writeup because I think it speaks to the true value of the trade.
Clearly, the Phillies get another ace to put up at the top half of their rotation, and with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt making up their top 3 starters, they look very strong if they make it into the playoffs. This wasn’t exactly what everyone had imagined as the pair of aces if the Phillies were to acquire Halladay last offseason, but it is still very formidable. By getting the $11 M, they have essentially been paid the cost of Oswalt for 2011 (he is owed $23 M through next season), and make the idea of giving up good players a lot more bearable. For them, Happ, Gose and Villar are the price it takes to make another run at a World Championship. The Phillies also did very well here in my opinion in that they were able to hold onto some of their higher end prospects like Jarred Cosart, Trevor May, and Jonathan Singleton.
The Astros had pretty much been put in no-man’s land, and did surprisingly well here considering that fact. Happ is going to be at worst a #3 starter in the Majors in my opinion, and has shown some success previously. Minor leaguer Jonathan Villar is a very raw shortstop prospect, who looks like a speed guy to this point. He has 38 steals so far this year in 100 games in Single-A. The plate discipline concerns me quite a bit: 26 walks to 103 strikeouts in those same 100 games, but he’s still a very young prospect (only 19 at the time of the trade), and there’s a lot of upside there.
By acquiring Brett Wallace from the Blue Jays, they got a player who is a lot more major league ready than Gose, and can slot in as the replacement for Lance Berkman following the season. Berkman is on a team option for 2011, which will almost certainly be bought out instead of exercised ($2 M buyout versus $15 M salary). I find it extremely telling that the kid has now been traded 3 times in the past calendar year, as he was a part of the Matt Holliday trade and also the Roy Halladay trade group as well. Wallace has hit very well in the PCL this season, posting a .301/.359/.509 line with 18 HR and 61 runs batted in.
The Blue Jays
Anthony Gose, just 19 years old, trends to be a definite speedster out there as well. He stole 76 bases last season in a full season and has 36 so far this season as well. Another player who could struggle with poor plate discipline (32 walks vs. 103 strikeouts), but still has hit .263/.325/.385 at High-A Clearwater. I like this move for the Blue Jays, as it appears that they will be unable to move free agent to be Lyle Overbay, and were able to make a move of Wallace to get a player who has a high ceiling but who is also unlikely to arrive for another couple of seasons.
Overall, this trade was made with the hope that another pennant will be had by the Phillies, and I was actually surprised at how close the Phillies have gotten to the Braves in the last week. The Astros, considering all the limitations and cash issues that were surrounding moving Oswalt, did pretty well to get the players that they did. The one thing that really does concern me quite a bit about the Phillies is that they have already committed $143 million to a total of 17 players who are under contract for 2011. It seems to me like they could either end up spending similar amounts to the Yankees or have to find some serious bargains to help fill the roster. The biggest bonus for the Astros appears to be only having to pay the $11 million of the $23 million owed to Oswalt.