Well, I was wrong. I thought he would stay put but he’s on the move. Roy Oswalt is now a Philadelphia Philly. And the Braves just dropped two series in a row…on the road…to divisional foes. Worried a bit? You should be because Frank Wren is shakin in his boots as the Phils get closer and closer to leading the N.L East. Considered the best arm on the market, Oswalt now teams up with another Roy in Mr. Halladay as well as Cole Hamels. In return Houston gets J.A. Happ and two prospects. The Astros will pay $11 million of the $23 million that the 32-year-old Oswalt is guaranteed through 2011. A pretty solid deal for Philadelphia.
The N.L East race just got a little more interesting. I predicted the Phillies to win the N.L East when it’s all said and done. They are currently two and half games back of the Braves and the addition of Oswalt will only make them better. He has 120 strike outs in 129 innings. His ERA is 3.42 which will fit in with the Phillies who have averaged 6 runs a game in the last 7 days. Since the start of the 2008 season, Oswalt is 0-5 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts against the Braves, Marlins, Mets and Nationals. Therefore Oswalt will be terrible for the Phils right? Wrong. He’s coming to a winning team. He’ll be on his A-game so he can help this ball club get to the World Series. That record and ERA came from the Astros where he rarely got run support. The Phils will hit the ball and put up runs for both their Roy’s. Look out baseball world, Philly has their own big 3 now.
This doesn’t mean the Braves should panic and make a quick deal without thinking it through. We need a big bat to bolster the line up but I don’t want another Mark Teixeira type deal. Losing Elvis Adrus was brutal. Frank Wren is in a tough spot as the Oswalt trade certainly puts a lot of pressure on him to do something. Yes the Braves are a deep team and when they’re on they’re very good. However there isn’t enough power on this team. I’m not saying the Braves aren’t strong enough to make the playoffs because they are. They’re a great team. I believe they’ll be the wild card team. However, come playoff time will this team as is be able to hang with the Cards or a healthy Phillies team? I don’t think they can. So Frank, best of luck to you. The fans are going to want an answer to the Oswalt trade. Will we have a new Brave as of 4pm Saturday? I hope so but it’s doubtful. If there is a new Brave it may be a reliever. Jesse Chavez is downright horrible, Kawakami forgot how to pitch, and O’Flaherty is still on the DL. I would be happy with a reliever but most fans would not.
Adding Lance Berkman would be a horrible idea. His average is .245, he only has 49 RBI’s and 13 HR, which is on pace to finish with 84 RBI’s and 22 HR. That is not enough for a team trying to win a pennant. Berkman is not enough to boost the Braves on the level of the Cards, Phils, or Yanks. I’d like to see Cody Ross, maybe Adam Dunn, or even Jayson Werth. But the Ross talks have diminished, the Yanks and Rays lead the way in the race for Dunn, and I doubt the Phillies would trade Werth to the team they’re trying to catch.
At the moment Chase Utley and Shane Victorino are on the disabled list. 20 million dollars resting on the DL. When these two return the Phils will get on a roll down the stretch. The way the Braves are playing right now you should be worried. They wrap up their road trip in Cincinnati this weekend and I can only hope they don’t pay attention to the Oswalt hype. A return home is what these Bravos need. They’re 34-13 at home and 24-30 on the road. They’ll kick off a weeklong stay at the Ted on Monday August 2nd against the third place Mets. There is a lot of baseball left but if the Braves continue their slump into their home stand things could get ugly. I look for a race until the end, which will make the first weekend of October when the Phils come to town a very good series.