On the back of today’s Philadelphia Daily News read the teaser: “Oswalt is Phils’ Admission That Trading Lee Was A Mistake”. The article that lied therein was written by Paul Hagen who, while I guess still technically a beat writer covering the Phils, has been paid for years to report on the most mundane aspects of Phils baseball. But apparently, Hagen is not without an opinion, and some bad ones at that.
Firstly, Hagen opines that the Phillies should have just kept Lee and avoided this whole necessity to trade for more starting pitching. Implicit in this reasoning is that Ruben Amaro, Jr. knew at the beginning of the season that Joe Blanton, no fragile animal, would injury himself early and struggle to become effective for most of the season. Ruben must also have known that JA Happ would himself miss almost the whole season with injuries of his own. And that Moyer would blow out his elbow. While we all know that injuries are a part of the game, the necessity of relying primarily on two starters for the whole season is something that I think we all agree that no one could have foreseen. Injuries are an unknown variable and when the Phillies started to bear their allotment to the point where their pennant hopes were started to slip away, Amaro made the big move to compensate. Kudos to you, sir.
In his article, Hagen seems troubled that the Phillies might be mortgaging their future for the sake of the present:
[The Oswalt Deal] ..also increases the odds that, in the not-too-distant future, they will have a roster chocked with costly older players on the downside of their careers and reinforcements down on the farm to replace them.”
Paul, in case you haven’t noticed, Ruben has structured the Phils payroll to siphon out big money starting after the 2011 season. Gone will be Lidge, Moyer, Ibanez, and after 2012, Rollins and Polanco. So I guess you mean those artifacts, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, and Chase Utley that will be hanging around for awhile. None will be 36. Some may disagree with the Howard contract (I don’t), and that’s fair, but on the whole, Ruben has managed this payroll nicely.
No reinforcements? Let me throw some names at ya: Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton, Harold Garcia, Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jarrod Cosart, Phillip Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gilles, Vance Worley. Wait, my fingers are getting tired. While most of this talent is still in A ball, the drip of contributing players will start in about two years, the time when the older players start to leave. My gosh, it almost seems like a plan.
So Paul, you are wrong as wrong can be and in every facet of your reasoning. Roy Oswalt coming to the Phils is all about adjusting to circumstances, to think on one’s feet and the ability to be nimble. The Phillies don’t bemoan things that didn’t work; they go out and fix things.