Thursday, July 8, 2010

John Royal: Forget Purpura, this is Wade's team

John Royal has a new column up over at Houston Press, and it challenges the notion that this isn't Ed Wade's team:

At the conclusion of Sunday's game with the Padres, 16 of the 25 players on the Astros major league roster were players brought on board by Ed Wade. This includes Michael Bourn, Pedro Feliz, Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon, and Brett Myers. It also includes Casey Daigle, Jeff Keppinger, Jason Michaels, Humberto Quintero, Angel Sanchez, Oswaldo Navarro, Jason Castro, Gustavo Chacin, Wilton Lopez, and Tim Byrdak. So for some guy who hasn't had much time to shape the roster, it sure looks like he's been doing some shaping.

It's a good point. But what about all those contracts?

Sure Wade has to deal with the stupid contract that McLane handed out to Carlos Lee, and the Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman contracts were handed out before he took the GM job. But anybody who has followed Wade's career, or knows how to Google, knows that Wade gave out stupid and unexplainable contracts to the likes of Jim Thome, Pat Burrell, and David Bell.So while he might not have been the one who signed Lee as a free agent, there is precedent to show that Wade would likely have been on board with that deal were he able to do it himself.

It's depressing in nature, and well worth a read. I've thought that Ed Wade had a perfect job, mainly because he can deflect poor decisions on to Tim Purpura and Drayton. I think most of us can agree that whatever happens with Roy will be Ed Wade's defining moment. What if he does nothing?

2 comments:

Peanut said...

I haven't done this in a while (and I have jack shit to do today), so excuse me while I demolish Royal's insipid article point by point.

16 of the 25 players on the Astros major league roster were players brought on board by Ed Wade ... for some guy who hasn't had much time to shape the roster, it sure looks like he's been doing some shaping.

Well, yes. It would be odd if, by his third full year as GM, he had acquired no players. His most relevant work is what he's done down on the farm.

He's giving $4.5 million to Pedro Feliz this season.

Not a good signing, not the end of the world. And the team has not stuck with Feliz. It has committed to giving Johnson most of the playing time at third.

He's giving Brandon Lyon $15 million over three years to be a setup guy.

Lyon has been effective so far. He was the most desirable remaining option in the reliever market for a number of reasons (he's good, he cost no draft picks, he wasn't Fernando Rodney, and he was an alternative to Valverde). When you look at the market as it existed, it wasn't a big deal to overpay for Lyon.

The Astros are still paying for Kazuo Matsui...

Somewhat similar case. Matsui was a decent option on the free agent market, and he went for the going rate (seriously, it was insane). He was a solid defensive second baseman who had shown offensive improvement in the two preceding years. Signing didn't work out, but again, not the end of the world.

Wade gave out stupid and unexplainable contracts to the likes of Jim Thome, Pat Burrell, and David Bell.

And those contracts are just killing the Astros right now. Judge Wade's performance in Houston by what he's done in Houston.

Actually, let's entertain the "what Wade did in Philly" argument for a moment. He handed out some big contracts and made some bad trades (though not all as bad as Royal makes them seem). He also drafted Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, and Shane Victorino (Rule 5). Remember that Pat Gillick credited Wade with putting together the core of the Phillies' '08 World Series team.

...we hear the nebulous talk about building through the draft and the farm system, which is what Wade supposedly did in Philadelphia. But every team wants to build through the farm system.

Because it's how you build a winning team. The Astros have surrendered no draft picks under Wade, they've signed the players they've taken, and they've increased their scouting presence around the world.

I see the guy who traded for Miguel Tejada on the day before the Mitchell Report came out.

Relevant only to media blowhards. Judge the trade by what the team needed and how the players performed.

I can't help but think that Wade would have traded Andersen for Cooper, then he would have benched Ken Caminiti so that Wade could prove his genius.

I can't help but think that waffles are delicious. The preceding sentence, by the way, is commentary every bit as insightful and relevant to baseball as Royal's statement.

Back in the late-80s, Bill Wood was named GM of the Houston Astros. He had an owner who was slashing the budget, dumping salary, and demanding that high-priced stars be traded away. Yet operating under these constraints...

McMullen and McLane both put their GMs in challenging situations. The challenges were very different, though. Wood was able to commit to a total rebuilding process. Wade, to this point, has been unable to trade away veterans to speed things up. Can't judge Wade against Wood like that.

I don't pretend Wade hasn't made bad calls. With the Astros, though, he's done more good (getting McLane to spend on amateur talent) than harm (Pedro Feliz, the horror!). The organization is headed in the right direction, and Wade is doing a good job overall. It's time to end the tunnel-vision "Ed Wade sucks!" wharrgarbl.

Reuben said...

Peanut - well f'ing said. Thank you.

Going back to the Matsui signing- I believe Luis Castillo and T. Iguchi were the other two "big" names among FA 2Bs that year. None of the three has worked out. I didn't love the move at the time, but like you said, not the end of the world.