The End of Fleecing Ed?

Former Phillies GM Ed Wade is out in Houston

Ed Wade Cell Phone
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Early Monday, news broke that the Ed Wade -- the General Manager of the Houston Astros -- would be let go following another lackluster season for the soon-to-be-American-League team.

This news, of course, comes as no surprise to Phillies fans, who had the displeasure of having Wade as their GM from 1998 through 2005, where he captained many a team with high expectations but was never able to get them into the postseason.

And as many have said (myself included), Ed Wade possibly did more for the Phillies as the GM for the Astros than he ever did as the GM of the Phillies.

It's not a stretch to think that, of course, because since his arrival in Houston, Wade made three huge trades with the Phillies that on the surface appeared lopsided to the Phillies favor.

It appeared he more or less got taken while successors Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro, Jr. got shiny new players to put on the big league roster -- be it Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt or Hunter Pence. And in return? All the Phillies gave up was a handful of minor leaguers and J.A. Happ. No big loss, right?

Wrong. At least, that's what the fine writers over at The Good Phight have to say about it.

Earlier this season, before the Phillies acquired Pence, TGP examined the Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt deals and concluded that, in fact, Houston actually did quite well in both of those trades.

To wit:

I wouldn't go so far as to say that you trade with Wade only at your peril, but you do have to watch your step. If you like to mock Wade's history of trades with the Phillies, you need to go back and relearn the facts, because all you're doing is inviting the Phillies to shoot themselves in the foot.

It's a really good read that shines a lot of light on how both teams made out in the trades, and they added a post-script to include their take on the Pence trade. In my opinion the Pence deal was a rip-off for Amaro, who said goodbye to four players that could be considerable difference makers one day for the Astros.

Was Ed Wade a good general manager? I'm leaning towards no. He gave a huge contract to Kaz Matsui, signed Brett Myers to an extension instead of trading him at the 2010 deadline, sent Michael Bourn packing for very little and, all in all, didn't leave the team in demonstrably better shape than when he arrived. To be fair, he didn't really leave them in worse shape either as a General Manager is beholden to payroll, scouts, team presidents and other machinations that seem like they are always conspiring against them.

But, like some would suggest, Wade didn't get taken in the trades by the Phillies like so many victims of a Ponzi scheme. Did he do the Phillies some favors? Sure, but to the man didn't outright deliver blockbuster trade after blockbuster trade for nothing.

The thing about trades is that both teams are going to get something, it just depends on their needs. The Phillies needed Major League-ready players, while the Astros didn't. Hence, they take farmhands with potential value and they give up players whose value is realized.

It's easy for us to look at Wade and call him a rube because his players have yet to materialize while the Phillies have won division after division -- thanks in part to the trio of former Astros that were bequeathed to them for a mere pittance.

But the thing about prospects is that the benefit is not immediate. And, if player evaluators have anything to say about it, then it's likely that a few of those chickens will be coming home to roost before too long.

Just remember Wade once didn't trade away prospects like Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard instead choosing to let the players develop into key cogs of a championship dream realized under another leader.

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