|Roy Oswalt waived his no-trade clause and consented to be dealt by the Astros, the only organization he’s known for 14 years, to the Phillies. Philadelphia sent lefty J.A. Happ, last year’s NL rookie of the year runner-up, to Houston along with a pair of raw, toolsy prospects at the Class A level. Center fielder Anthony Gose and shortstop Jonathan Villar have exciting potential, but the 19-year-olds will need ample development time to reach their ceilings.
Because of the quality of players received, the Astros will kick in $11 million to help cover the remaining money owed to Oswalt.
The Phillies have made something of an annual tradition out of trading for a starting pitcher near the trade deadline. Last year, they famously acquired reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from the Indians, shipping four prospects to Cleveland. In 2008, they sent three prospects to Oakland for Joe Blanton. In a smaller deal, the Phillies traded Matt Maloney to the Reds for Kyle Lohse in ’07. Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge also came to the organization via trades.
Of course, a club won’t be in a position to make trades if it doesn’t have desirable prospects. And judging by quality and quantity received in trade, the Phillies have had some good ones. The full list of young players surrendered, arranged alphabetically: Adrian Cardenas, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ, Jason Knapp, Matt Maloney, Lou Marson, Josh Outman, Matt Spencer and Jonathan Villar. To acquire Halladay and Lidge, Philadelphia surrendered Michael Bourn, Mike Costanzo, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, Geoff Geary and Michael Taylor.
|J.A. Happ, lhp
Born: Oct. 19, 1982 in Spring Valley, Ill.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 200. Bats: L. Throws: L.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in third round of 2004 draft; signed June 16, 2004.
Happ produced dazzling results as a rookie in 2009, making 23 starts and 12 relief appearances and going 12-4, 2.93 with a healthy 119-to-56 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 166 innings. He finished second in NL rookie of the year balloting and even pitched effectively in the World Series, striking out four Yankees in 2 2/3 relief innings. But Happ has crashed back to earth in 2010 as he has dealt with an elbow injury that has sent him on a world tour of the Phillies’ minor league system. At his best, Happ keeps hitters off balance with an upright, crossfire delivery of 85-90 mph fastballs and a very good changeup. He’ll mix in a fringy breaking ball now and then for shock value. If healthy, Happ can be an effective mid-rotation starter.
|Anthony Gose, cf
Age: 19. Position: CF (103 G).
Born: Aug. 10, 1990 in Paramount, Calif.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Bellflower (Calif.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in second round of 2008 draft; signed June 8, 2008.
Gose led all minor leaguers with 76 stolen bases in 2009, when he batted .259/.323/.353 for low Class A Lakewood. While he remains an unfinished product with the bat, his speed, center-field defense and arm all draw raves from scouts—and even a few 70s on the scouting scale. His tools are apparent in his standing in the Florida State League. Gose ranks second in the circuit with 36 steals (one behind Jupiter’s Kevin Mattison) and 15 outfield assists, while pacing all FSL batters with 67 runs scored and 11 triples. He employs a slashing hitting style that lends itself to below-average power, though he will occasionally sting one the other way. Gose’s pitch recognition needs significant refinement if he’s to profile as a true on-base-oriented leadoff batter. The Astros (and before them the Phillies) are betting that Gose’s batting eye will improve, given his athleticism and baseball acumen.
|Jonathan Villar, ss
Age: 19. Position: SS (99 G).
Born: May 2, 1991 in La Vega, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Bats: B. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Phillies, May 20, 2008.
Scouts rave about Villar’s range and easy actions, saying he could play defense in the big leagues right now. “Defensively, it’s all there—60 arm, very good range,” one scout told us recently. Villar runs very well and is aggressive in terms of stealing and taking extra bases. Like Gose, he’ll need repetitions to refine his offensive game. Villar likes to swing at fastballs early in the count and rarely walks. The switch-hitter has fared marginally better from the left side this season, batting .270/.333/.363 with both of his home runs.
|Roy Oswalt, rhp
Age: 32. Remaining Commitment: Remainder of $15 million salary for this season (about $5.5 million), plus $16 million in ’11 and $2 million buyout. (Astros send $11 million.)
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.