|Roy Oswalt||Esteban Loaiza|
|12 - 8, 2.54||6 - 5, 3.62|
With the Cubs' horrible bullpen implosion this afternoon, the Astros look to both entrench themselves in their newly-regained second place slot in the Central and more importantly, defeat the team they will have to overtake in the Wild Card race. It is of course destiny that the Nationals will be surpassed by the Braves for the top spot in the NL East sometime soon, and Roger, Roy and Associates would I'm sure very much like to help Washington achieve their destiny this very weekend.
Taking three of four at RFK would leave not only the Braves in first place in the East, but the Astros only three games out and at least tied for second in the Wild Card standings, assuming the Mets and the Phillies don't break out any brooms this weekend.
Bill Gilbert wrote to ask me what I thought of the package the Reds are rumored to be asking for Dunn, and to be honest it was the first time I'd heard anything so specific. Gilbert wrote that the Reds were asking for Astacio, Nieve AND Buchholz, for Dunn, and that if they were able to get that, they'd be glad to throw in Kent Mercker. Who knows what the truth is, but Cincinatti has certainly been portrayed as trying to get the last drop of value from their trade bait, and the rumor Mr. Gilbert presents does have an air of verisimilitude.
The deal as explicated would essentially clean out our upper minors of quality pitching. That's bad. But we would get to keep Qualls (that's good), and we would also be able to add a left-handed reliever (that's also good). But the asking price is still steep for a player who's currently hitting .240, makes 4 million dollars, and is gonna strike out 200 times. Yes, we want to make a trade, but we also need to be intelligent. Mortgaging the future for no good reason doesn't give us any better chance to win the wild card, I don't think. Astacio and either Buchholz or Nieve--two solidly B-plus prospects--should be sufficient to do a deal, considering the salary we'd be taking on. And if that doesn't suit O'Brien, well, we can keep looking.
Even if Wandy Rodriguez IS a long term solution, the Astros are gonna need another starter next year, and I think we should have at least one internal option before you go out and get some kind of disaster like Kent Bottenfield or Brian Moehler.
The fact that we should make a deal does not give the Reds license to rape and pillage.