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?


Dan Haren, who was coveted by many teams this month, found himself a new member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a trade that came about Sunday afternoon. So much for all those rumors about how he was going to be a Yankee. See why trade rumors are dumb?

The Angels literally came out of left field to make this deal happen and are sending a message to Texas that they are ready to concede the division title to them just yet. Though after another loss to the Ranges today, it’s looking very bleak for the Halos.

The Diamondbacks picked up major league starter Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez and young prospect Patrick Corbin. This is a great deal for the Angels because even if they can’t make up the 7.0 game difference in the division this year, they set themselves up nicely for next season by holding the rights to Haren for 2011 and 2012. Saunders is the most notable pickup for the D-Backs, but the lefty owns a 4.62 ERA this season.

With so many other teams interested in Haren (Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals), I have a hard time believing this was the best deal they could find for him. There wasn’t a major prospect sitting in Double-A/Triple-A they could have acquired? Arizona has made some suspect deals in the past couple of seasons that I may get into in a separate post, but this deal has me scratching my head from the D-Backs viewpoint.

While this deal obviously makes the Angels a better team, does it make them better than Cliff Lee and the Rangers? Probably not, but it does send a message to its fan and to the Rangers that they plan to stick around in the hunt this year and the recent future.

With a little over a week until the July 31st deadline, Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt and D-Backs pitcher Dan Haren are drawing interest from the following teams: Phillies, White Sox, Yankees, Twins, Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals, Packers, Steelers, Maple Leafs, Heat, Lakers, the Buzz, Gas-House Gorillas and the Tune Squad from Space Jam…

Hey, that Tune Squad team led by Bugs Bunny is tough.

All kidding aside, I’m not a fan of trade rumors very much. They reach a point of ridiculousness every year with about a week until the deadline. When you start quoting “sources from outside the organization” that can pretty much be anybody. Hell, I could be considered a reliable source outside the Pirates organization because I’m outside the organization and own a URL domain.

This is why you won’t find me talking about many trade rumors throughout the pages of Caught Looking. I enjoy writing about the trades that actually happen, not the ones where 14 teams have called the Brewers asking about Corey Hart. I’m sure each general manager talks to about 20 GM’s, if not more, in the last week of the deadline just to hear what each team wants for certain players, so they can gauge what interest is out there for those players and their own. Fans, and this is helped big time by the media, seem to believe every single report they hear and then flip out when it does not happen. Blah.

Instead, my next post (later day or tomorrow) will focus on three pitchers and who I would want on my team for the second half of this season—Oswalt, Haren or Ted Lilly.

Have a good day and remember, don’t believe everything you hear.

My post on Saturday about the Texas Rangers mentions that acquiring a front-line starter should be key for the Rangers and their postseason hopes this summer. And one front line starter that asked to be traded to a contender earlier this season just happens to be Roy Oswalt.

Now, I honestly haven’t followed the rumor mill surrounding Oswalt and the Astros and what teams are interested, but Oswalt to Texas just makes sense. Oswalt is from the south and moving from Houston to Arlington wouldn’t exactly be a cultural shock for him. Texas needs a starter, especially with Derek Holland and Rich Harden currently on the DL, and Oswalt wants to be moved to a contender, and Texas is just that.

The Braves are another team that I think would be interested in Oswalt, and they also could certainly use a veteran starter in a rotation that continues to run Kenshin Kawakami to the mound every fifth day despite his 0-9 record and 4.78 ERA.

Now the Astros continue to say they won’t trade Oswalt just because he wants to be dealt, but I have a problem believing a team that is 26-44 and going nowhere would stand pat and hold onto an all-star pitcher that obviously wants out of there. I believe they will listen to offers and eventually deal him at the deadline.

The problem with Oswalt going to Atlanta is I’m not sure that Braves are anxious to deal one of their young pitchers or hitting prospects in the minors. The Braves aren’t known to trade their prospects for a one- or two-year pitcher no matter what the reward is. The Rangers, on the other hand, have a plethora of pitching prospects in the farm system (which seems to be a norm for them these days) and could get by with trading them due to the young talent already up to the big league team.

At the end of the day the bottom line for if any deal gets done will be the Astros expectations of the return they will get for Oswalt. They aren’t going to get a Jason Heyward-type prospect back. Oswalt doesn’t exactly have the healthiest past with his back and shoulder, plus he turns 33 this August. They may not even get a top prospect in return, but the fact of the matter is the Astros are going nowhere in 2010 or next season, they need to begin the rebuilding process and dealing Oswalt for multiple mid-level prospects is a start.

There have been some horrible, one-sided trades throughout MLB history. For time purposes, I won’t go into details on some of the other ones, but every time I watch a Tigers or see Miguel Cabrera’s stats continue to rise, I can’t help but be reminded of how the Tigers deal with Florida is getting more and more lopsided by the day.

Let’s break this trade down. On December 4, 2007 the Marlins sent said slugger Cabrera along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for a handful of talent minor leagues that included Cameron Maybin, Mike Rabelo and pitchers Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern and Eulogio De La Cruz.

I’ll be blunt—Cabrera is a beast. He’s a perennial MVP-candidate every season as he hits for average, power, and middle-of-the-order production. He was a 24-year-old stud when the Marlins traded him, and he continues to amaze and improve every year. Cabrera has averaged 33 home runs since 2004, and so far this year, he’s hitting .340/.428/.603 with nine homers and 38 RBIs. Then there’s Willis, who seemed like a lost cause after two horrendous years, but the Tigers have stuck with him and he’s actually pitching middle of the road at the back-end of their rotation. Willis is 1-1 with a 4.68 ERA through seven games this year. If Willis even ends up being somewhat decent and stick in the rotation this year and possibly more than this deal will just look worse for the Marlins.

And what about the players Florida acquired? Well, De La Cruz has been in the Padres organization since last year, and Rabelo is back in the Tigers farm system after he was cut and resigned by Detroit. Miller, who was the top pitcher prospect in the deal, has had little success in 70 career major league games (5.50 ERA) and currently pitching at Double-A Jacksonville. Trahern has never made it to the bigs, and I can’t find him to have pitched anywhere this season according to Baseball Reference. Badenhop is the only pitcher in the deal to pitch for the Marlins this year, but he’s 0-4 with a 5.49 ERA in 13 games out of the bullpen.

Basically, these guys aren’t anything to write home about. Maybin was the key prospect in this deal, and his success or lack thereof will eventually be the verdict of this trade. The Tigers received a lot of criticism for dealing their potential star in Maybin, but two and half years later Maybin has done almost nothing with plenty of opportunities. He went back and forth between Florida and the minors in ’08 and ’09, but heading into Friday’s game he has three home runs with a line of .241/.303/.340 in 37 games with Florida. Not exactly the stud player the Marlins expected they were getting in the trade. His power has never really developed as he’s been very inconsistent. He is only 23 years old still, but the more he continues to struggle while Cabrera continues to produce, the gap in this deal widens.

People will argue that the Marlins did this deal to dump payroll on another one of their fire sales, but I’m not going into that aspect of it and will just look at it as a baseball deal. Even the Marlins keep franchise players around every once in a while (see Hanley Ramirez), so I find it hard to believe they couldn’t have kept Cabrera to a big deal or acquire more in return for him.

It’s only been two and half years so it’s still not enough time to fully dissect the trade, but man does it look heavily lopsided right now and has the potential to be one of the worst deals of all-time if the Tigers and Cabrera win championships or reach the World Series during his career.