Well if you haven’t heard about it by now, the Phillies ended the numerous Roy Oswalt rumors and acquired him from the Astros.

So let’s go back to last December in the offseason and play a little timeline game. The Phillies trade a couple prospects away to get Roy Halladay in a deal on Dec. 16, 2009. Almost immediately following that trade, the Phillies turn around and deal Cliff Lee to Seattle for a couple of prospects. Fast forward to July 29, 2010 when the Phillies trade a couple prospects away and a ML pitcher in J.A. Happ to Houston for Oswalt.

Why didn’t they just keep Lee originally like everyone was wondering last December? A rotation with Halladay and Lee for a full year in light years better than a rotation with Roy and Roy for a half season. Oswalt is a nice pickup, but he’s not Cliff Lee at this time of his career. Oswalt currently has a WAR of 2.7 while Lee’s is significantly higher at 4.9. Lee has been dominant this year and is now helping Texas run away with the AL West.

At any rate, the Phils now have Oswalt to provide a great 1-2 punch in hopes of getting ahead of Atlanta in the last two months of the season. They traded Happ and minor league prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. The Astros immediately turned around and dealt Gose to Toronto for key prospect Brett Wallace. Speaking of Wallace, if he’s such a great prospect that everyone raves about his power, why is this the fourth trade he’s been involved in about a year?

Wallace could eventually be the Astros long-term answer to Lance Berkman at first base as they are now discussing deals to send Berkman out of Houston. Anyway, getting back to Happ, who went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA last year to finish second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He only pitched in three games in April for Philadelphia before a forearm injury has sidelined him since then. I’m just confused to what the Phillies were doing last offseason when they could have had Halladay, Lee and Happ all under contract. Instead, Lee and Happ are gone and Oswalt is the pitcher coming in.

Oswalt should be fine for the Phillies, but he won’t do what Lee did for them last year in the playoffs. It also will be interesting to see how Oswalt will react to pitching for a new team that isn’t the Astros for the first time in his career. The Astros probably could have landed better prospects for Oswalt, but with the money involved and Roy’s willingness to have his 2012 option picked up probably derailed better deals. The fact that they were able to get Villar, a young raw shortstop who could have a high ceiling, and a former first round pick with power that is probably ML ready in Wallace is a decent enough return for a pitcher that wanted out and wouldn’t be leading the Astros into the playoffs in the next two years.

Of course if you go over to FanGraphs or some other baseball site, they will probably tell you the Astros totally lost out on the deal. Anytime you’re trading for prospects with some of them in the low-level of the minors, you have to wait and see how these players develop before fully dissecting the trade. If Villar, Wallace and Happ end up having decent major league careers (even only two of them), doesn’t that outweigh a half season of Oswalt’s 32-year-old arm?

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