Earlier Monday afternoon, Steve Phillips made his weekly appearance on Mike Francesa's show on WFAN. During his segment, the rumored interest of the Nationals in Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt came up, and Phillips, a "baseball analyst," offered his opinion on what Washington might want to do in this situation.
Steve Phillips just told Mike Francesa if he was [Washington], he'd trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt.
Now sure, Oswalt has been a very good pitcher throughout his career -- he finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2004! -- and okay, maybe Strasburg doesn't pan out for the Nationals or he throws out his arm or whatever. But there are just so many reasons why Phillips' proposed trade is a terrible idea.
It all pretty much starts and ends with the simple fact that Oswalt is 32 (and turns 33 in August). Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, hasn't even turned 22 yet. Let's look at some numbers.
Here is Roy Oswalt's innings pitched total every year since 2004: 237, 241, 220, 212, 208, 181. And here is his ERA+ over the same time: 125, 144, 150, 140, 119, 102. For his career, Oswalt's ERA is 3.21, which is great, and only twice did he ever finish a season with an ERA over 3.50. Yep, both were the past two years: 3.53 in 2008 and 4.12 in 2009.
Now, this isn't to say that Oswalt is not a good pitcher, because he clearly is. It is meant only to show that Oswalt is trending downward, which is what tends to happen to pitchers in their 30s.
Put another away: Oswalt is doing the exact opposite of what Strasburg's career arc is doing right now, which is moving in an upward trajectory, and quickly. I mean, he's basically the best pitcher ever already.
The scariest part of all of this: Steve Phillips was one was paid to run a Major League Baseball team. It was his job. (He was bad at it.)