With the Astros having been entrenched as the worst team in the NL for the past few weeks, one would be hard pressed to find much of anything to praise Ed Wade for in constructing this club. Certainly his willingness to over pay for a Coors Field-enhanced Kaz Matsui in 2007 and a proclivity to ink relievers to higher than need be contracts have been and will be fair criticisms to direct towards Mr. Wade. As we know, it’s not what a GM does in any one offseason, it’s what he does over the course of multiple off seasons, which defines him as a failure or success.
I don’t want to turn this into a "defend Ed Wade at all costs post", because at this point we here at TCB have done that enough and the Astros record doesn’t really give me much of a leg to stand on at any rate. That all being said, I would like to make a different sort of argument, not to necessarily posit that Wade is a "good" GM or anything like that. Instead, I would like to do exactly what un-biased critics/evaluators cannot do when evaluating the tenure of a major league GM: look at them in a one season vacuum.Obviously, the 2010 season is barely 1/3 over with so Ed Wade’s offseason decisions have over 100 games to make him look worse or possibly better than he does today. At least on the pitching side of things, his acquisitions: a hard throwing closer with plus stuff (Matt Lindstrom), an experienced set up man coming off an outstanding 2009 season (Brandon Lyon), a workhorse type starter looking to invigorate his career (Brett Myers) are moves that were and are more suited for a GM of a team which expected to seriously contend in the following season. Put another way, if Ed Wade was in charge of a team that was a few pieces away from an earnest pennant chase, he would be looked at as a genius. Instead, on a team which has struggled to win one out of every three games, Wade hasn’t seen any praise heaped his way. Think about it this way: while even the best teams in baseball have holes on their 25 man roster, their holes are fewer than a team like the Astros. The four major moves Ed Wade made this off season, taken in vacuum, appear to be strong decisions made by a GM who believes his team has a true chance to compete. Matt Lindstrom certainly has the talent to close on a contending club, and given the chance to compete, he has shown that there are few other ninth inning men who can match him. Maybe on a team which had a closer by committee the previous season (
The move that most strongly resembles that of a perfect "good team" move is the signing of Brett Myers. While he is a number three (or given Wandy Rodriguez’ struggles, a number two) starter on a bad Astros team, a