The Baseball Notebook

July 30, 2010 7:20 AM

Phillies Blunder Again

Oswalt.jpg Whenever a person or organization, in any area of life, makes a mistake, the worst thing they can do is let it become two mistakes, as they keep trying to dig their way out instead of just starting fresh. But that's exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies did yesterday when they dealt promising lefthanded starter J.A. Happ and prospects to Houston for Roy Oswalt.

Philadelphia's decision to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason--for a package of prospects that grades out worse than what they gave up for Oswalt--hasn't worked out for them and they've been universally criticized in the baseball media. To try and rectify this error, the Phils gave up a hefty package to get a pitcher both older and not as good as Lee. One mistake has become two.

There would have been nothing wrong with the Phillies just starting over. Even without Oswalt, the team remains in contention, with their current eight-game win streak having pulled them to within 2 ½ of Atlanta in the NL East and 1 ½ of San Francisco for the wild-card. They have a big-time ace at the top in Roy Halladay. They have a #2 in Cole Hamels, who's been an NLCS and World Series MVP. And while Happ had missed much of this season on the disabled list, he'd shown a lot of promise last year. The Phils had what they needed to get to the playoffs and World Series. Even if it wasn't this year, they had enough for next year and in Happ they had a solid starter for years to come. Now they have a starter who has been dominant in the past, but has been less so in recent years. They have a starter who is nearing the end of his career and was hesitant to play in Philadelphia to begin with. The Phils' blundered on this deal. And the Lee mistake is the one that keeps on giving.

In other trades...

*Minnesota acquired Matt Capps from the Washington. Nice pickup for the Twins. Capps isn't great, but he's akin to Jon Rauch in that he's reasonably functionable. Minnesota needed an extra arm for the bullpen and they got one who's been reliable over the years.

*San Diego acquired Miguel Tejada from Baltimore. Tejada wasn't hitting in Camden Yards. What's he going to do in the vast expanse of Petco Park?

*Los Angeles got Scott Podsednik from Kansas City. Yawn.

And Baltimore hired Buck Showalter as their new manager. I don't know if Showalter was the best man for the job, but he's good enough. He's tough and a disciplinarian and that's what the Orioles' young talent needs. When I watch the local broadcasts here in Maryland, the lack of fundamental play is appalling to watch. The Orioles' cupboard isn't as bare as their record makes it look and Showalter can drive these players back to respectability.

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