Re-evaluating the Astros Tenure of Ed Wade
But let's hold up for just a minute. Wade pulled off a good job with the Pence trade. He made some nice draft picks. But there's no evidence he knew how to put together a major league roster (hello, Kaz Matsui, Bill Hall, Pedro Feliz, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton). And while the Astros won the Pence trade, the team lost the Roy Oswalt trade with the Phillies. The Lance Berkman trade was a bust, and the Michael Bourn trade can be seen as a win only if you think adding Paul Clemens and his willingness to hit opposing batters for bunting against the shift is a plus.
The shifting thinking toward Ed Wade is akin to the way some people tried to give Chuck LaMar credit for the Tampa Bay Rays when they started getting good in 2008. Sure, LaMar was a disgraced GM who presided over one of the worst teams in MLB for over a decade. But look at his drafts. The Rays were full of his high-round draft picks, and if not for his eye for talent, the Rays would still be a bad baseball team. That thinking misses one thing: LaMar did such a poor job of actually assembling a big-league roster that the Rays were routinely the worst team in baseball, thus putting them in prime territory to get the first pick in the MLB draft every year.
Wade, or his staff, like LaMar had the ability to spot talent. What he couldn't do, like LaMar, was actually put together a roster where all of the pieces coalesced into a decent team. His work might be the key to the Asrtros returning to relevance, but nothing indicates the team would be in better shape, or the same shape, if he had stuck around in a job he's never proven he can handle.
Then there's this: What's the talk going to be like in 2019 when Nolan Ryan owns the team and Jeff Luhnow's been dispatched for someone more in tune with Ryan's thinking? Will Luhnow be seen as someone who could put together a major league roster, or will he just be a guy who knew how to draft but couldn't turn that talent into a winning franchise?