Whenever a team starts to fade away from contention, there is always talk of moving top players for prospects. It seems, the Phillies were able to land two of Houston's top players, with the Astros picking up some of the salary, for prospects that were not at the top of Philadelphia's food chain. I will break down these two moves and maybe we can see if it smells a little fishy.
First the Phillies traded for Roy Oswalt, giving up just JA Happ, OF Anthony Gose and SS Jonathan Villar, the later two have not played in the big leagues. Happ has been horrendous, and may not make the team this year. The Astros also payed the Phillies $4 million of Oswalt's $15 million 2010 contract and $7 million of Oswalt's $16 million 2011 contract. Oswalt only went 7-1 with a sub 2.00 ERA for the Phillies in 2010, leading them to the playoffs as the favorites to win the NL pennant.
Even more suspicious was the Hunter Pence trade made almost exactly one year later. Pence is a star just now entering the prime of his career. He is not eligible for free agency until 2014; another three years he will be with the Phillies. Although it may be early to tell if any of the four players the Astros got back will ever help the team, no player acquired was among the top ten of the Phillies prospects. Pitchers Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid and 1B Jonathan Singleton and OF Domingo Santana are all ways from the major leagues and are in no ways, a guarantee. Not only that, put the Astros PAID the Phillies $2 million of Pence's $6.9 million he has owed for the 2011 season. But when the Astros traded OF Michael Bourn to Atlanta, they got major league ready CF Jordan Shafer back in the package.
I find it odd that in neither of these trades was there any mention of Dominick Brown, Vance Worley, Antonio Bastardo or any other young player that was major league ready. Maybe these "prospects" become stars and Wade looks like a genius. Its unlikely and it doesn't look right that once he's fired, he joins the very organization that he just gave the Astros best player to.