The Roy Oswalt Deal: Philadelphia’s Perspective

Reports are that the deal is done, and the Phillies have acquired Roy Oswalt. Regardless of why it was necessary, this looks like a pretty big win for Philadelphia.

In exchange for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villan, the Phillies get Oswalt and a reported $11 million to offset a large part of the money he’s still owed. As a result, it looks like Philly will get Oswalt through 2011 for about $12.5 million total. Even with his back problems, he’s worth quite a bit more than that.

Oswalt isn’t the workhorse ace that he used to be, but the Phillies already have one of those. On a inning by inning basis, he’s still one of the better pitchers in baseball. After years of decline, he’s actually posting his highest strikeout rate since his rookie year. He won’t throw 220 innings a year anymore, but when he’s on the mound, he’ll get hitters out with regularity.

I’d estimate that Oswalt should give the Phillies about +5 wins of value over the next year and a half. Given their status as a playoff contender on the bubble, the marginal value of a win to their franchise is higher than the league average as a whole. So, while they’re paying about $2 million per win for Oswalt, they’ll be getting something closer to $5 or $6 million per win in on field value, thanks to their increased playoff odds.

Overall, Oswalt should add $10 to $15 million in value above and beyond what the Phillies will pay him. For that value, they surrendered Happ and the two minor leaguers. I’ll let Bryan Smith tackle the prospects with more depth, but suffice it to say that no one thinks they mortgaged their future here. Happ is a back-end starter, and while he has some value as a league minimum guy for the next couple of years, he can be replaced.

Oswalt represents a significant upgrade to their rotation, and gives the Phillies a legitimate chance of running down the Braves for the NL East title. Because they were able to get Houston to cover so much of his salary, he’ll also reinforce their ability to contend again next year. That’s a lot of improvement for not much surrendered from Philly’s perspective.

Setting aside all the context that made the Phillies need Oswalt in the first place, this has to be seen as a good move for their franchise. They got a quality pitcher at a below market price without putting the long term future of the franchise in danger. Kudus to Ruben Amaro for this deal.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


44 Responses to “The Roy Oswalt Deal: Philadelphia’s Perspective”

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  1. “Setting aside all the context that made the Phillies need Oswalt in the first place…”

    That line made me laugh.

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  2. don says:

    Best trade Wade ever made for the Phillies?

    Also I’m pretty sure the SS prospect’s name is Villar, not Villan.

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    • MarinersFan000 says:

      Yes I believe it is infact Villar. Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs don’t seem to agree with the name but @Ken_Rosenthal tweeted that it is ‘Villar’

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      • Sean says:

        Villar, Villan..pretty much depends on the source. Either way, he’s an extremely raw guy, and not much of a prospect currently. No power, lots of strike outs, not many walks…gonna have to make some huge strides in the next couple years if he’s going to amount to anything. Total “C” prospect at the moment.

        Gose is basically a slightly better version of Villar/n. Ultra-athletic, shows some power potential, slightly better plate discipline, tons of speed (but absolutely horrific base-stealing instincts…36/27 SB/CS this year, 76/20 last year). They’re athletic lottery tickets.

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    • Teej says:

      I’ve heard this wasn’t even Wade.

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  3. CircleChange11 says:

    Kudus to Ruben Amaro for this deal.

    That had to hurt a little.

    This is definitely one of those “rich get richer” deals.

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  4. Matt H. says:

    This trade is going to get a lot more interesting when it turns out that Ed Wade has still been on Philadelphia’s payroll all this time.

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  5. Bill says:

    All the talk the last couple weeks was about how ridiculous the Astros demands were for Oswalt and how Oswalt refused to accept a deal unless his option was picked up. Now Oswalt’s option isn’t picked up, the Astros didn’t get any kind of top prospect, and the deal still went through.

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    • chuckb says:

      Oswalt’s value just wasn’t that high b/c of the salary he was owed. I don’t think this deal should surprise anyone.

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      • Alex says:

        But the Astros picked up a bunch of his salary. 12.5 million for Oswalt over the next 2 months and the 2011 season is a huge bargain. My guess is that the Astros just valued Happ a lot more highly than they should have, especially considering where they play their home games (RHH are going to crush him in that park). Happ, a B- type prospect, and a C+/C prospect for Oswalt and 11 million may be even worse than what the Dbacks got for Haren (and a significantly larger contract that they picked up none of).

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      • chuckb says:

        @ Alex — Happ’s not great and is probably no better than a #4, but b/c he’s cost-controlled for the next 4 years, he’s probably worth $8 to $10 million in surplus value to the Astros.

        Overall, b/c of the prospects involve, I think the Astros did get less than the D-backs did but Haren is better, younger, and cheaper. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Despite all that, Happ is better than Saunders, or at least cheaper and about as mediocre.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Haren is most certainly not cheaper. He’s still guaranteed another 31-32 million for the next 2+ seasons with his buyout. With the money that the Astros are sending along, Oswalt only costs you 12-13 million over the next 1+ seasons including the buyout. Oswalt is significantly cheaper and he’s less risky. Not sure why’d you just assume Haren is better either. He’s got a similar xFIP this year with significantly worse FIP and tERA. You really have to believe that none of Haren’s struggles for the past 12 months are due to anything he’s doing to think he’s better. I think most teams are convinced the BABIP and HR/FB problems are at least party due to something Haren is doing.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Didn’t it used to be that you had to give up the world for a premier player?

      Is this a change that is a result, perhaps in large part, due to Billy Beane? … or the situation of small market teams being able to reload their prospects by trading away a star they can no longer afford?

      If we view WAR as “money”, how many millions did HOU lose on this deal over the length of Oswalt’s contract?

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      • Jamie says:

        Well, he’s been worth around $18 million a year, WAR-wise, since 2004. So that would probably be a good guess, assuming they get nothing much out of the players they received. (I’m willing to go ahead and assume that.)

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  6. Conshy Matt says:

    i’m guessing dave had to resist his gag reflex while typing this article.

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  7. chuckb says:

    It should be noted that, by refusing to be willing to trade Oswalt to the Cardinals, Drayton McLane essentially boxed himself into a corner. Because no one else was involved, the Phils had no reason to bid against themselves and it lowered the return the Astros received.

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  8. bonestock94 says:

    They must have strong narcotics in Arizona and Houston.

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    • Frustrated GM says:

      What is this world coming to?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I think both teams …

      [1] Limited their trading partners.

      [2] Decided ahead of time they were going to trade the player.

      [3] Took the best deal out of the limited options they had.

      It didn’t work out for either team, IMO.

      It would be interesting to see what [1] they had in mind for what they’d get in return, [2] what they actually got, and [3] why they still decided to complete the deal.

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      • Frustrated GM says:

        That’s true. I can see that as a possible reason as to why these things occured.

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      • don says:

        I think it’s a similar ‘win’ for the Phillies and Angels.

        It’s a bigger loss for the Diamondbacks, because they could have conceivably contended before Haren’s contract was up. There’s basically no chance Houston makes a run at the Central in the next two years.

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  9. PJ says:

    Astros just giving away their ace. No wonder they are reluctant t trade away Myers.

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    • chuckb says:

      That they insisted on trading Oswalt now, and only had the Phils as a possibility, and have insisted on keeping Myers is inexplicable. If they had been ambitious about moving Myers, they’d have probably had 5 suitors and would have probably gotten just as good a package. They could then trade Oswalt in the offseason by having more than 1 suitor involved. It’s just a terribly run organization.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Myers has a very reasonable option for next season, it makes sense for the Astros to hold onto him.

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  10. Evan says:

    The Phillies need 2 GMs. Amaro for the trade deadline, someone else for the offseason.

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  11. AK707 says:

    I’ll say it: “They could have had Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt” Its not actually as absurd as it sounds, given how cheap Oswalt was compared to the others. Incredible top 3, with hamels at the end

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  12. Big Jgke says:

    Looks like Gose is going to the Jays

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  13. CircleChange11 says:

    “Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this …. and TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF.”

    Good quote that doesn’t get nearly enough play.

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  14. Kevin S. says:

    So, this offseason, Ruben Amaro will be trading Oswalt for two C prospects and a bag of balls because he can lock Jamie Moyer up longer and for cheaper, right?

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  15. bonestock94 says:

    GOSE FOR BRETT WALLACE!?

    Wow, what a mindblowing day.

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  16. TOsports says:

    I wonder if Cliff Lee is bitter, or feeling vindicated?

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  17. pounded clown says:

    If there was BABIP for GM’s Amaro’s would be high with the liner and two bloop singles he hit not to mention the 11 mil broken bat homerun. Jeez I was thinking the farm would like the Romans went all Carthaginian Peace on it.

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  18. JDT says:

    Given how little Arizona and Houston received for Haren and Oswalt, is it possible the off-season market for Lee wasn’t as robust as critics of the Aumont/Gillies/Ramirez for Lee swap make it out to be?

    Particularly if you consider how little the Phillies gave up for Lee in 09, (and, to a lesser extent what, what they gave up for Halladay,.)

    Maybe teams just don’t value front line starting pitchers as much as they did a few years a o, and the much maligned Philly to Seattle trade wasn’t really this outlier of terrible gm-ing.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Did you see the bids the Yankees and Rangers put in on Lee? Also, it wasn’t just that the Phillies didn’t get much for Lee, it’s that they didn’t get much for Lee when there was no need to dump him.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        When the M’s traded Lee, he was having by far the best season of his career, which likely has something to do with the return the M’s got. Not saying that the Phillies should have traded Lee, either.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        It’s not like he was chopped liver coming off of ’09.

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  19. Bill says:

    If there was no market for Lee in the off season, then Amaro had no reason to try and move him. His value to the Phillies on the field was obvious.

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  20. John Smith says:

    Phillies slide to #25 in Dave’s org talent rankings after this deal!

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