Taylor Buchholz is supposedly a pretty good prospect. Don't know much about Astacio. Duckworth has been the "shoulda been great..." guy in Philly for a season or two. Can't say I'll miss him, but he'll probably do OK in Houston.
Phils take on more money, but in comparison to the 5 MILLION they were going to pay Mesa, I'd take my chances with Wagner. Nothing wrong with paying top dollar for superstars. $5 million for Tom Gordon and I would have been upset.
As a Phils fan, I'm pretty happy. Especially after suffering through the Mesa/Williams debacle of this past season. Cormier/Wagner could be a nice lefty/lefty combo, provided Joe Kerrigan doesn't ruin them. (which is always a possibility)
Originally posted by GrimisDuckworth is a guy who can still be great. He just needs to do it fast. fast. He could always wind up the closer in Houston as the Gordon/Eckersley type who converts over too.
Yeah, like this season fast. The cozy confines of that Little League stadium they call Minute Maid Park is not going to help him out, either. Most likely Octavio Dotel or Brad Lidge becomes the closer in HOU. Dotel has had success in the role filling in for an injured Wagner in the past, and Lidge is young, was successful and reliable last year (save for some overuse) and throws mad heat.
Duckworth could be one of those pitchers that needs a change of scenery. I want to reserve judgement until Milwood signs. If the Phils resign him then the trade probably leans toward the Phils as they can bring someone up from Scranton to be a fifth starter. But if they lose Milwood they will have to fill 2 starter spots instead of one. Then it probably leans toward the Astros.
On the surface, it looks like a straight money dump for the Astros. Tim Purpura (Astros Assistant GM) was on Baseball Prospectus Chat the other day and he alluded to the fact that he thought Wagner was not worth what they were paying him.
I honestly don't understand why Pettite is so highly sought after. Four years ago, yes, he was a premier pitcher. The past two seasons, he had serious brakdowns and serious Yankee bats to ressurect his shitty performances. Yes, he pitches well in the postseason. But he was outpitched by Beckett in the most important game of the Yankees season. And in Houston, even with their huge bats, the NL Central is insanely competative. They might not even make the postseason. I just don't think that Petitte is the big-pitcher answer that a lot of teams are looking for...
"What you don't understand, you can make mean anything." -Palahniuk
Maybe Pettitte isn't the greatest pitcher in the bigs right now, but don't forget, this is a league where just about everyone is desperate for starting pitching. If you've got a free agent market where Kelvim Escobar is highly sought after, then Andy Pettitte is going to be given the keys to the city wherever he goes. When you're dealing with starting pitching, it's definitely a sellers' market.
As for the Astros, maybe they don't think Wagner is worth what they're paying him...but what closers of his worth are available? Like Kidbrooklyn said, the NL Central is very competitive. Many more salary dumps like this by the Astros are just going to make things easier for the Cubs and Cards, and Houston is going to find itself out of the race.
Saves may be overrated in theory - you know, come in, get three outs, go home, big deal - but by the number of teams who don't have a guy that can do it you can't really make that argument. A closer is a guy who only comes in in clutch spots and is expected to pull the game out every single time. How many of those are there in baseball, legitimately? Maybe 20? If there are 20 people on earth who can do just about anything, I'd say that's significant. Purists may hate saves, but show me a team that wins without a closer...
There was a lot of debate about that this year; personally, I'd say that there really aren't more than 10 guys that I'd count on to go in and get the last 3 outs of a game, and pretty much know I'll walk away with a win. Wagner's one of those guys.
Now, there's a second tier of guys that will normally get the job done, but implode on a semi-regular basis (there's probably 10-15 guys that are like that, too). The real dropoff comes when you look at Tier 1 and Tier 3 (which is everyone else - the guys who the Phillies had last year); that can decide seasons, sometimes.
BTW - Those are the stats from the Stat Tracker application. It runs in Java, and it gives you real time updates as the games are played. It was $8 for the season - which isn't bad considering I use it daily. Here's their sales pitch for it.