Ed Wade: Burning Down the House
I've been advocating the blowing up of this team for many years now. Many, many years. Yet coming into this trading deadline, I was having severe second thoughts over whether any trades should be made. I knew the trades should be made, needed to be made. But I had no faith whatsoever in the ability of Ed Wade to make the proper trades.
And damn it, as much hope as I had that Wade would find a way to do the best thing for the franchise, unfortunately, it appears that Wade was more concerned with doing the best thing for the franchises of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves than he was with the Houston Astros. Ed Wade didn't so much start rebuilding the Astros as he finished the destruction of the franchise.
Trading Pence to the Phillies wasn't, amazingly, the worst deal of the weekend. As hard as it is to believe, it was the Braves who treated Wade like the Phillies did last year, and that, if anything, should tell you just how badly the Astros were treated this weekend.
There were lots of teams that wanted Pence and Bourn. Desperate teams. Teams looking for that one last piece to put them over the top and into the playoffs. Teams with deep farm systems and lots of prospects. Teams like the Phillies, the Braves. The Giants were interested. The Reds. The Nationals. The Red Sox and Indians expressed interest. The Yankees were asking questions.
So, of course, Ed Wade did what Ed Wade does. He screwed it all up.
There was a lot of anger over Pence's trade to the Phillies. And lots of "The Phillies are to Ed Wade as the Broncos are to Gary Kubiak" jokes. But while not getting the best return from the Phillies that he could get for Pence -- I was really hoping for the Phillies' top prospect, Dominic Brown -- Wade did get two of the Phillies' top prospects in Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart. I wasn't even that angry about Wade sending some bucks to the Phillies because that's what Wade does. What Wade didn't get from the Phillies was a player ready to play in the major leagues. Then again, he didn't get another J.A. Happ, so for that everyone should be thankful.
It wasn't the ideal trade, and there were rumblings that the Braves were supposedly offering some of their top four prospects, prospects that may or may not, depending on whose twitter feed you chose to believe, have included minor league stud pitchers Mike Minor and Randall Delgado, who were stuck in the minors behind one of the best starting rotations in baseball. So when word got out that the Braves were interested in Bourn, then there was room for hope of patching up the pitching staff.
Would the Phillies please rehire this guy, already.
But Ed Wade instead flipped Bourn to the Braves for Jordan Schafer, an injury-prone centerfielder who has pretty much flopped in the big leagues. The flop probably arising out of the guy having served a 50-game suspension for HGH use. And while they got some pitching prospects, they didn't get any of the top four Braves prospects, instead settling for guys who project to be nothing more than "mediocre big-league regulars." Oh, and of course, the Astros also sent some dollars to the Braves.
So after a few days of trading fury, the results are that the Astros stocked their farms systems with two guys in the low minors who show some real promise, and a bunch of mediocre nothings who should fit right in with the rest of the Astros' awful farm system.
The 2011 Astros team is a bad team. It's the worst team in major league baseball. But things aren't going to get any better. J.D. Martinez has joined the team. Jose Altuve is with the team. Jason Castro should return in September. There's hope for catcher Chris Wallace in Corpus. Then again, Brad Mills has Brett Wallace so screwed up that Wade's big pickup from last season has been sent down to the minors to recover from the Mills strategy of screwing around with the brain and confidence of a rookie so that Jason Michaels could play.
But there's going to be nothing next season for a club that promises to be even worse than this year's team. The minor league guys that can play are pretty much already on the team. The guys that Wade acquired, except for Jordan Schafer, won't be close to being ready for the majors for a couple of years, and there's no reason to expect much from Schafer.
So well done for Wade. He never should have gotten this job, and probably wouldn't have were he not friends with Tal Smith and were Drayton McLane not looking for a nonentity to handle the job.
And for the next several years, whoever Jim Crane brings in to repair the damage done by Wade this weekend and these past several seasons, just put this image in your head. Just imagine Ed Wade standing in a suite at Minute Maid Park, leaning out over the railing, and flipping the bird to every fan in the city of Houston.
Ed Wade didn't have a fire sale this weekend. He burnt the house down instead.