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Inside Mr. Met's Head


June 8, 2010 8:29 PM

Everyone Look at How Stupid Steve Phillips Is

nationals introduce strasburg.jpgSteve Phillips is a man of dubious decision making ability. Just look at the intern he got caught having an affair with. More importantly, he was my team's general manager from 1997 until 2003 (not the GM who traded Kazmir). Just a reminder of a couple of things Phillips almost did:

  • In  2002, the Toronto Blue Jays were potentially shopping around Jose Cruz Jr. The Mets were interested in an outfielder so Phillips offered JP Ricciardi (the GM of the Jays at that time) a young third baseman named David Wright. Ricciardi rejected the offer. WAR since 2002: Jose Cruz Jr.: 11. David Wright in 2007 and 2008: 16.2
  • Before that same 2002 season, the Cleveland Indians were shopping around 2B Roberto Alomar. The Mets offered a package around Billy Traber, outfielder Matt Lawton, and an insignificant shortstop named Jose Reyes. The Indians rejected this trade, instead insisting that the Mets send top outfield prospect Alex Escobar. Phillips made this trade instead.


So that is reason enough to hate Steve Phillips. But sometimes guys like these need a little extra. Sometimes they feel the need to say stupid things to really catch my ire. So, a few weeks ago, Phillips appeared on Mike Francesa's pretty awful show to say something completely idiotic. In fact, it was one of the most stupid statements I have ever heard.

I was driving when I heard it. I almost drove my car off the road.

"If I'm the Astros, I'm saying Washington Nationals, sure, [Roy] Oswalt, I think he'd fit great for you. I'll take Strasburg, and then I'll take...."

No. There's no way Phillips would actually say that the Nationals would even consider trading Stephen Strasburg. They'd murder the entire Nats front office. Nationals Stadium would be burned to the ground. They'd salt the very earth that baseball was once played.

"Here's the thing. If I'm the Astros, I'm saying to the Washington Nationals: 'Sure, Oswalt? I think he'd fit great for you. I'll take Strasburg.' "

And if I'm the Nationals, I think you could hear my laughter first and, once I compose myself and calm down, utter two words that rhyme with "duck off."

"Well, let me ask you this: do you think that Strasburg is going to be Roy Oswalt in his career?"

You don't know Steve. But that's why prospects are important -- because you have no idea how good they could be. Sure, Strasburg could potentially be a gigantic bust. But he could also develop into a huge superstar. Such is the risk of prospects. Saying that you'd be willing to trade the best pitching prospect in like 10 years, who you have control over, for a two years of a (admittedly) good pitcher, whose prime was nowhere near what Strasburg projects to be is just plain idiotic. Statements like that should get you fired.

And if he is [as good as Oswalt is], and if I want Roy Oswalt to help me win this year, you know what, I make that deal."

Here's the issue Steve - trading your best pitcher for another good pitcher is really bad when Strasburg will probably perform just as well, if not better than, Oswalt will for the rest of this season. So why even bother making the trade? What's the purpose of it?

As I type this, I'm watching Strasburg start. He's all ready better than Oswalt.

"Absolutely. Strasburg is... I mean, listen, he was a good college pitcher, he's been a good minor league pitcher so far, but if I can get one of the top five starting pitchers in the game today for Strasburg? Because I really hope [Strasburg] can be that guy, but I have to tell you, I don't know that he can be that guy, and with his delivery, I could see the potential for sort of a Mark Prior sort of a breakdown."

Are you kidding me? First of all, Oswalt is good, but he's not a top five starting pitcher. By WAR this year, Oswalt is the 28th best pitcher in baseball (behind Brett Myers of all people). That's not even counting a bunch of pitchers who are having a slow start. Purely on that level, it's a completely awful trade. But when you use the odds of getting hurt as a reason to trade a talent like Strasburg, you've really, really lost me. Pitchers get hurt. It happens. But Strasburg isn't any more likely to get injured than Oswalt is. Oswalt could walk off the mound, trip on a ball, and break his arm.

Glad you traded the best pitching prospect in baseball for him?

It's insanity that this man was ever in charge of personnel decisions for a Major League ball club. It's even crazier that he's considered a baseball "expert." The man knows nothing.

The nicest thing about Strasburg's start today is that he exposed just how wrong and stupid Steve Phillips is. His line today in his debut?  

7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 14 SO.

Struck out the last 7 he faced. Had more movement on his pitches than a Nintendo game.

It's one start. I know. But he's all ready completely demolished the notion that he's not ready or is overrated. Touching 100+ on his 4 seamer, a filthy 97 MPH 2 seamer, the fastest curve with the most movement I've seen since Kerry Wood. Pure power. I would have written this article earlier but I waited to be smug after a lights-out start.

And better than Oswalt.

Go away, Steve Phillips.

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