Ed Wade may yet contribute to a Phillies World Series title. The Houston GM, perhaps best known for an eight-year stint at the helm of a rudderless Phillies team, has followed it up with perhaps an even more perplexing reign of terror in the Purple Drank capital of the world. On July 29, Wade traded Roy Oswalt, the face of his franchise and one of the most consistently excellent pitchers of the past 10 years, to the Phillies for J.A. Happ and two other guys.
I don’t think I ever really appreciated Oswalt’s excellence from afar, but up close, the diminutive righthander was simply stunning. Overall this season, Oswalt was spectacular, posting a 2.76 ERA, a league-leading 1.025 WHIP, and his highest K/9 ratio since his rookie season. Taking into account only his numbers after the trade, Oswalt was even better: 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.895 WHIP in 82 2/3 innings (to say nothing of perfect fielding statistics in left field).
Oswalt never did seem to have his best stuff in the playoffs, but pitched well enough to grab a win in Game 2 of the NLCS (though his last two appearances were perhaps the two most hearbreaking losses of the year) and keep the Phillies competitive in his other appearances. Still, despite showing up in Philly under very high expectations, Oswalt managed to quietly exceed them.