Well, Houston Astros fans... there are still Houston Astros fans, right? It is at this point in time when people are talking about how this season is a wash, and Drayton McClane (the owner) won't spend money on quality free agents, and the like. There are many other's who wish Houston to hold a Marlin's style fire sale, and many others want Ed Wade's (the GM) head on a pole (which makes Shawn Chacon somebody's hero). I am not one of those fans, but I certainly think Ed Wade has made terrible trades from the very beginning of his reign. I'm here while the dust is still unsettled to talk about those deals, and maybe make a point. If you're a "what if" person, I think you're going to like this blog. When I say like, I mean you're going to lie awake at night trying to think of ways to prevent these trades from happening.
I do not count Kaz Matsui's signing a mistake by Wade. Although injured at times Matsui has done well, and is playing very well from the lead spot. Is worth the 16 million he signed for? No, he's a little overpriced, but it isn't my money, so I don't care. What I do care about is the three trades that have turned Houston from a playoff contender to a last place team with a 2-7 record vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Trade # 1: Brad Lidge to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, and Geoff Geary... and a prospect later part of the Tejada trade
What did Houston give up? Well, right now he's the best closer in the National League. How this is an acceptable trade is beyond me. I think Wade saw an opportunity to get a guy he really liked, Bourn, and pulled the trigger. I think Houston could of, and should of gotten more in this deal. But, as it stands Houston received a good middle reliever, and a center fielder who has spent most of the season leading off with a sub-.220 BA. Another thing I'd like to point out is how J.R. Towles was sent to AAA when he was struggling at the plate, but Bourn has been given a much longer leash.
Trade # 2: Chad Qualls, Chris Burke, and Juan Guitierrez to the D'backs for Jose Valverde
Houston sent Brad Lidge to the Phillies, and he goes from head case to all-star. They replace him with Valverde who does the opposite. Valverde is still a decent closer, but he has blown too many saves, and always is giving up runs. I don't remember the last time I saw him go an inning without an Earned Run.
Trade # 3: Luke Scott, Houton's top pitching prospect and three others to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada... the day before the Mitchell Report came out
I have nothing negative to say about Tejada. He has been pretty good offensively, and has been well above expectations defensively. But, Houston gave up way too much to get him, and this will make more sense when I show the "bigger picture"
Big Picture # 1: Brad Lidge out, Jose Valverde in
This isn't even close. Brad Lidge is the best closer in the NL, while Valverde has accounted for more losses this year, than Lidge ever did, Lidge just did it in bigger games.
Big Picture # 2: Luke Scott out, Michael Bourn in
Luke Scott has hit 17 home runs, and has a better BA than his counterpart. Obviously Houston would lose some defense with Hunter Pence in center as oppose to right, and Luke Scott in right, but the offense would be more than that much better.
Big Picture # 3: Chad Qualls out, Geoff Geary in
Ok, so this one is about even, but I would prefer Qualls because I think he is one of the best setup man in baseball, and could fill in at closer fine.
Big Picture # 4: Houston's farm system out, Miguel Tejada in
The entire farm system is not that much of an exaggeration either. Troy Patton, Matt Albers, Juan Guittierez who were three of Houston's top five, or six pitching propects. Plus Chris Burke, Eric Bruntlett, and Dennis Sarfate. This one goes in favor of Tejada.
I really think Houston would've been much better off had no deals been done. Of course I say that as there are talks about Tejada going to Boston. I am personally hoping it happens with either Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden coming to Houston with rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie. I really want this to happen.
Now, back to Wade. I previously stated that I don't want Ed Wade fired. My reason for this is because Houston was headed in this direction regardless, and I admire the fact that he he stuck his limbs out there and tried. Last offseason there were no quality starting pitchers available, so Wade did what he could. He took gambles, and they didn't pan out. I think he should keep his job, and give it another go this offseason. There are an abundance of starting pitchers available, and more importantly Wade is notorious for rebuilding the farm... look at the Phillies today, that's what this guy can do. So, I ask you all to put this season into perspective, and please stop paying Astros players to attack Ed Wade.