Oh, that's not necessarily a good thing, given the context of Howard Bryant's article on the trade deadline:
Pence is gone, traded by general manager Ed Wade to a team already a title favorite for a handful of prospects who might as well be magic beans. He did not acquire a big leaguer in the deal. Maybe Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid will be good players; maybe they won't. But the Phillies gained a proven commodity in Pence without having to relinquish one -- or even Domonic Brown, a top young, promising player who already has played 89 games in the majors...
...Selling the future to fans through minor league prospects is perhaps the biggest scam in baseball. It is the easiest way for front offices to shed payroll, avoid accountability and produce the illusion that bigger and better things are just around the corner. Hope is a great commodity, but it should be real if it's going to be peddled. Here, instead, is what happens when top-level, big league players get traded for prospects: The team receiving the better player wins. The team receiving the prospects asks its fans to wait, and that isn't a fair request.
Pardon me, but hasn't every successful major-leaguer been - at one point - a minor-leaguer (Okay, Dave Winfield aside)? I'm a fan of the team who is being asked to wait, and I'll tell you, it's a hell of a lot better than watching a team 30 games under .500 do nothing. The cynical fan - and it's amazing I'm not one of these right now - who is asked to wait might start reading football preview magazines. The true fan looks at being asked to wait as a sign that better things are coming.
There's peddling magic beans, and there's delivering youth, hope, and excitement, and those two ideas are not the same.
I don't know which writer should get credit for criticizing the trade deadline, but it's a preposterous sentiment. When bad, old, expensive teams don't perform, you blow it up. To beat your head against the wall for 162 games is ignorant if you have the option to change course 110 games into the season.
Because do you know what happens when a team doesn't develop its minor-league talent? They become the 2011 First-Half Astros: Old, Uninspired, Boring, and Bad. It's much more fun this way.
In a related note, MLB.com's Terence Moore has a similar article - but one that targets the Astros, not just Ed Wade, but for the last 40 years, as being terrible traders.
Oberholtzer, Schafer, Clemens, and Abreu might want to pin Moore's assessment on the Bourn trade up in their lockers:
In return, the Astros got nothing worth mentioning -- you know, just like always. So this is more of the same: The Astros sent Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves this week for nothing worth mentioning.