Phillies Acquire Roy Oswalt

The Phillies finally have acquired Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros, a much-ballyhooed rumor now blossomed into a reality. Let’s start with analysis of the tenured right-hander himself.

Oswalt, generously listed at 6’0″ on his Baseball Reference page, has finished in the top-five in National League Cy Young award voting five times in ten seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2001 and is a three-time All-Star. He is definitely well-respected in mainstream circles. How does he rate with the Sabermetrics?

Over his career, he has an above average strikeout rate at 7.4 per nine and a below average walk rate at 2.1 per nine. His career 3.57 xFIP is a bit higher than his 3.24 ERA; both are extremely good numbers. His 3.34 SIERA this year is ninth-best in baseball and fourth-best in the National League (fifth-best if you include Dan Haren).

According to the pitch type linear weights found on FanGraphs, Oswalt’s curve ball ranks eighth-best in the Majors this year, slightly ahead of those thrown by Roy Halladay and Brett Myers. His fastball averages 93 MPH, a full MPH higher than the average Cole Hamels fastball.

There were concerns that Oswalt was hitting the skids after a disappointing 2009 in which he posted a 4.12 ERA, the fourth straight year his ERA had increased. Additionally, he induced fewer ground balls — his GB% was at its lowest since 2004. And while he was not a frequent addition to the disabled list, he always seemed to have some kind of ailment nagging him. Last year, he dealt with lower back and pitching hand issues. The back issues have persisted, but thanks to cortisone shots Oswalt has not missed a start this season.

In acquiring Oswalt from the Astros, the Phillies will give up J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villar.

Happ is not exactly a favorite around these parts:

He will never be the same pitcher he was last year. He is not a maven of control, he is not able to miss bats on a frequent basis, and he has no special batted ball abilities. He is simply mundane. Happ pitches like a 4.50 ERA pitcher and that is what should be expected. His 2009 was a complete and utter fluke.

Gose is a 19-year-old center fielder that spent the entirety of this season in Clearwater where he hit .263 with a combined 28 doubles and triples in 418 at-bats. For someone of his age at his level, his 7% walk rate is fine but his 25% strikeout rate will need to come down for his bat and speed to be of any significant value. Jim Callis of Baseball America described him as a “raw tools guy” in a recent tweet.

Villar is also a 19-year-old, a shortstop who could be found in Lakewood. He has good speed and a plus-glove by all accounts, but has not yet developed the requisite bat. He is on a slightly faster track than Freddy Galvis, another light-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop currently with Reading. Given that the Phillies picked up Jimmy Rollins‘ option for next year and are likely to sign him to an extension beyond that, losing Villar is not a big deal especially with an insurance policy in Galvis.

The Phillies absolutely 100% swindled Astros GM Ed Wade. Not only did the Phillies give up no one of any real significance, but they also received $11 million along with their new #1-b pitcher. This trade will set the Astros back and will set the Phillies up for another run at the post-season in which they hope to become the first National League team since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals to appear in three consecutive World Series. As much as GM Ruben Amaro has been criticized, he deserves some praise for this highway robbery.

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  1. David

    July 29, 2010 02:03 PM

    Nice analysis, Bill.

    I think the lesson here is simple: Only work with the dumb GM’s.

    Put Jack Z on the “DNC” (Do not call) list, and make sure you have Ed Wade’s number on speed dial.

    A good rebound from RAJ after the C**** L** debacle.

  2. Sundar

    July 29, 2010 02:06 PM

    Houston Astros: Where former Phils who can’t cut it go to die.

    And if you don’t believe in karma then you didn’t follow the Phils during the Ed Wade era.

  3. Doc |

    July 29, 2010 02:10 PM

    Amazing. Simply amazing. After Ed Wade screwed over the Phillies for so many years, it’s nice to see things even out.

  4. Nick

    July 29, 2010 02:16 PM

    The reports about the cortisone shots concern me. It makes sense he was pushing to get that 2012 option picked up. But with the Astros throwing in some cash, we essentially have him for this year’s stretch run and next year for a whopping total of $12 million. That’s a damn good bargain, considering Cliff Lee would’ve walked after this year to cash in.

  5. Glen

    July 29, 2010 02:23 PM

    if screwing us over means the drafting of jimmy rollins, chase ultley, ryan howard and cole hamels then he screwed us pretty good

  6. David

    July 29, 2010 02:32 PM

    Without researching, what were the best non-draft moves made during Wade’s tenure?

    -Signing Thome

    -Not trading Ryan Howard for Kip Wells, or whatever pitcher de jour we were chasing back in 2004.

    Was the Abreu for Stocker trade during Wade’s watch?

  7. e

    July 29, 2010 02:56 PM

    Bill, ruiz is hitting 7th again, brown is a platoon and ibanez 2nd vs. LHP.

    ruiz is at .319/.458!/.489 vs LHP this year.

    what an idiot.

  8. Josh

    July 29, 2010 03:38 PM

    Thanks for posting some info about the prospects. I have a question about Oswalt – if we don’t pick up his 2012 option can we trade him again next year without consulting Oswalt or does he retain the no-trade clause in Philly?

  9. Bill Baer

    July 29, 2010 03:47 PM

    Josh, that’s actually a very interesting question and I don’t know for sure. I’ll post your question to my Twitter to see if anyone else knows.

    EDIT: What most people are saying to me is that the NTC is still intact.

  10. Dave

    July 29, 2010 03:54 PM

    Normal contract law would suggest that yes, he does retain the no-trade clause unless the Phils got him to waive it when they added the extra million to his buyout in 2012.

  11. Eh

    July 29, 2010 04:08 PM

    Wade saves face by getting wallace for Gose.

  12. Dave P

    July 29, 2010 04:33 PM

    Bill it will be funny to see if your assessment of J.A. Happ will become more popular in the next 24 hours among Philly fans.

  13. mike

    July 29, 2010 04:34 PM

    Wade was in a tough spot, trying to accomodate Oswalt’s trade request while limited by the conditions Oswalt set. You never really get true value for these types of players (see: C__ L__). That said, I think RAJ should be arrested for grand theft pitcher, even keeping in mind the possibility of back issues. I love this deal.

  14. Eh

    July 29, 2010 04:43 PM

    Wallace for Gose makes Wade’s move look a lottt better.

    Hey bill, you talked about Roy H being abused by Manuel.

    Rockies are up i think 8-1 vs. Pirates. There were articles going up jimenez was tired, throwing too many pitches/innings, Tracy denied it.

    Jimenez was at 103-or 105 through 6, Tracy runs him back out there in the 7th, throws 123

  15. Childhood Phan

    July 29, 2010 05:52 PM

    Wait – we got $11mil too? Uhh,something’s wrong. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that Wade’s just happy to have Oswalt gone? I could be very wrong. I hope I am. But I have that ‘uh oh’ feeling. It just seems as if for some reason the other 2 pitchers traded before Oswalt and Wade in desperation said, “Take my pitcher . . . please. Oh yeah, and $11mil.”

    Dave’s right; the NTC sticks under any kind of normal contract law. The Phils picked up the existing contract. They didn’t draft a new one.

  16. David

    July 29, 2010 07:08 PM

    So…we get an upgrade to the rotation, and the prospects are too young to really project with much accuracy. It’s a nice move in a vacuum, but pitching hasn’t been the problem – inconsistent batting has been. Will this hamper any attempts to improve that?

  17. Bill Baer

    July 29, 2010 07:14 PM

    Probably not. They still have bargaining chips to acquire a bat if they want to. They’re still in on Jose Bautista.

  18. SJHaack

    July 29, 2010 10:37 PM

    I really feel like what the Phillies need is a bench bat and/or a reliever that doesn’t give me nightmares, and not another outfielder. With Brown finally given a shot and Raul hitting much better, I’d love to see a rotation where Dom spells either Raul or Shane (when he’s back healthy) 3 days out of 4. It’s a pipe dream sure but it takes care of outfield bats. Jimmy will be back. Chase will be back, he’s over halfway on the projected timeline. They don’t have anywhere to put another regular unless they deal one.

    They can’t afford to send Werth anywhere with Vic on the DL, not that I’d have done it in the first place. Considering he was going to be a bargaining chip for someone like Oswalt and they managed to get him for Happ there’s no way they can deal Werth, get fair value, and get something that will contribute this season when they’ve turned firmly into buyers again.

  19. Elmer

    July 30, 2010 12:56 PM

    I totally agree that the Phillies swindled the ‘Stros. I think this is a good deal. Villar and Gose are not going to be superstars and neither was Happ. To get Oswalt for this little is a coup. About time Amaro got something right.

  20. lou

    July 30, 2010 09:01 PM

    Joey Votto is taking the NL by storm.

  21. dino

    August 01, 2010 12:20 AM

    I just don’t comprehend why so many fans love it when the Phillies get a bargain. As if they’re a poor, struggling franchise. Heck, they’re spending recklessly (Howard extensiion, Blanton contract, Ibanez, Moyer, Lidge etc) This mini dynasty is coming to a screeching halt very soon because of the front office and their multitude of financial mistakes which will tie up the franchise for many, many years. The biggest, of course, was not keeping, and not trying to sign Lee. The Oswalt trade is their attempt to make up for the Lee trade, which will never happen unless Lee throws his arm out this season. If they had kept Lee, they wouldn’t had to trade for a SP on the downside of a fine career. They could have used some of these prospects, or lesser ones, for a closer or a good set up man, and had Lee for the entire year.

  22. dino

    August 01, 2010 12:20 AM

    and Joey Votto makes about 400 K

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