So would you ever trade a Strasburg-like talent for Oswalt?

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Thumbnail image for Strasburg Triple-A.jpgSteve 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.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.