Friday, July 30, 2010

This Town is Big Enough for 2 Roys

I hated the Cliff Lee trade No. 2. Everything about it. That moronic decision to trade the greatest man who ever lived, combined with Raul Ibanez's ill-advised contract, the Joe Blanton extension, the Jamie Moyer extension that unnecessarily included a second year and the Danys Baez signing, put me at my wit's end. Then …

Talk about pulling yourself out of a self-imposed hole. The Phillies absolutely robbed the Astros blind with this deal. Roy Oswalt, a former 20-game winner who currently has a 3.42 ERA, 1.109 WHIP and 120 strikeouts to just 34 walks in 129 innings, is now a Philadelphia Phillie. All the Phils had to give up was J.A. Happ — a young lefty who has pitched very well for the Phillies, but a guy who also throws very straight pitches, has probably overachieved thus far, and is coming off an injury that took him forever to recover from, rendering him so ineffective that he wasn't even recalled to the big club when he was healthy — and marginal prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. Oh, and the Astros are paying $11 million of Oswalt's remaining contract. Thanks, Ed Wade!

You can complain all you want about the Phils trading away Cliff Lee — god knows I have — but it's evident that Ruben and the Phils realized they made a mistake, so they did their best to go out and correct it. Look at the top of the rotation now, compared to both 2008 and 2009. In 08, when the Phils became World Fucking Champions, their top three were Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer, with Joe Blanton as the No. 4. Last year, it was Cliff Lee, Hamels, Pedro Martinez, and then Blanton. Now, they have Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, followed again by Blanton. And they have that Roy, Cole, Roy combo for at least this year and next, potentially for 2012 as well. Right now, the Phillies rotation is a lot better than it was in 2008 or 2009, and it's one that will be together for at least two runs toward October. We now have the Royz N the Hood.

Just like that, the Phillies have gone from dead in the water merely a week ago to within 2.5 games of Atlanta for first place in National League East and 1.5 games of San Francisco for the Wild Card. Suddenly, they are the NL East favorites again, hell, the National League Pennant favorites again. And potentially World Series favorites — no starting rotation boasts as fearsome a trio as Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt. Sure, the Yankees, Rays, Giants and Cardinals have some big names and great pitchers, and the Padres and Rangers have excellent rotations, but three guys as good as Roy, Cole and Roy? I don't know about that.

That doesn't mean the Phillies are destined for their third straight trip to the World Series. Not by a long shot. In fact, they still have work to do just to make it to the postseason. But this move again proved that the Phillies aren't scared to make big moves, that Ruben Amaro and company are determined to give this team a chance to continue its recent success. Say what you will about several of his moves, most notably Cliff Lee No. 2, but Ruben has shown some brass balls these past few years. And in the past year alone, he's brought in three 20-game winners — Cliff Lee last year, Roy Halladay this offseason and Roy Oswalt now. Actually, make that four, if you want to include Pedro Martinez. That's three Cy Young winners and another 20-game winner, a remarkable feat no matter how you slice it.

Just as I was beginning to get excited about the Eagles, the Phillies go make a big splash. There's nothing but excitement once again in the air at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are hot, starting their annual second-half tear, now winners of eight straight. They're right within striking distance of first place. Roy Halladay has been everything we expected and more. Cole Hamels has returned to form. And even with the offense struggling and the injuries piling up, the team is still afloat. Domonic Brown finally made his long-awaited debut in impressive fashion. And now Roy Oswalt is a Phillie, making his first start for the Fightins tonight in D.C., just like the other Roy did, beating the Nationals 11-1 all the way back on April 5 by tossing 7 innings of 6-hit, one-run ball with 9 strikeouts. Now it's the other Roy's turn.

Believe me, this town is big enough for the both of them. It's still a great time to be a Phillies fan. If the bullpen can hold up and the offense starts to produce like it can — and the team gets healthy — there's no reason the Phils can't get back to the World Series for a third straight time.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Roy. We're happy to have you.

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment