Steve Phillips is taking a ton of heat for his “I’d trade Strasburg for Oswalt” comments yesterday. And he deserves it. Rob Neyer, however, has decided to probe the question a little deeper and wonders whether you’d ever trade a Strasburg-level talent for a guy like Roy Oswalt. The answer? Sure you would.
The monster caveat: you just would never, ever do it if you were in the Nationals’ current position on the success cycle (i.e. not yet ready for a World Series push and desperately needing good young talent to make you competitive).
So yeah, Phillips is still crazy. He’s crazy, however, not for the idea of a trade like that full-stop. Indeed, both Phillips in his overall comments (read the full conversation here) and Neyer in correctly note the idea of the uncertainty involved in evaluating even the best pitching prospects. Phillips is just crazy for not appreciating where the Nats stand, competitively speaking, when counseling such a move.
In this Phillips is not unlike a lot of general managers over the years who have misjudged where their teams stood and attempted to make a playoff push when such a thing was either (a) a pipe dream; or (b) came at the expense of more sustained, long-term success. There are just far fewer of them in the game today because they burnt their teams one too many times.
Kinda like Steve Phillips did.