The Morning After
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The Morning After
Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN PHILADELPHIA AND WASHINGTON -- The Phillies trained down to meet their new ace late Thursday night. I'm doing the same right now, trying to catch my breath after a crazy week of rumors and roster moves.
Needless to say, this is a dizzying time for these Phillies.
Incredible what a week can do. When we left St. Louis, the Phillies had escaped with one victory -- but needed 11 innings despite one-hitting the Cardinals. A rumored deal for Roy Oswalt had hit the skids and the Phils were still teetering on the edge of contention in the National League East.
Incredible what a week can do. Now, we're headed to Washington to watch a pitcher named Roy make his anticipated Phillies debut. Sound familiar?
So much happened Thursday and it was hard squeezing all of it into the paper. But we had substantial coverage of the deal.
A few tidbits that were buried or didn't make it:
-- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said he is likely done making moves. "We've added enough payroll, I think," he said. That said, Amaro will keep some discussions open in case anything favorable falls his way, like a lefthanded reliever for example. But I highly doubt another move is made before Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline.
-- When asked about what adding Oswalt's contract means for free-agent-to-be Jayson Werth, Amaro avoided the question. "This is a situation where we'll have to take that matter when it's time," he said. "Right now we're focused on trying to win this year."
-- Details about that 2012 Oswalt club option that turned into a mutual option: If Oswalt opts out of the $16 million option, he receives a $2 million buyout. If the Phillies terminate the option, Oswalt receives a $3 million buyout.
-- We won't be able to speak with Oswalt until after he makes his start Friday night. It'll be interesting to see how much he interacts with his new teammates before the game. Typically, pitchers don't like to be bothered before games they start. But there will be so much going on.
-- Oswalt's career ERA is 3.42. In August, that drops to 2.80. In September and October, it's 2.78.
-- What is Roy Halladay's favorite thing about Oswalt while watching him from afar? "The competitiveness," Halladay said. "He goes after guys. He challenges guys. He competes every time he goes out there."
-- Brad Lidge redefined the role of closer. He spent a good deal of time reassuring Oswalt, his friend and former teammate in Houston, that Philadelphia was a place to be. But Lidge downplayed his role. As he said, "Philly kind of sells itself right now."
"I think he was going to come here regardless," Lidge said. "For the most part, he's pitched in the National League his whole career and he wanted to do that. He's a guy who wants to win. He wants to win a ring. This is his opportunity. This made a lot of sense for him."
-- Jamie Moyer (who has seen his share of midseason trades), probably best sums up the team's attitude at this point:
"I think this club – we’re in an envelope of time where, we have a great chance to win, and I think this organization respects how hard it is to win, the players understand how hard it is to win, the coaching staff understands how hard it is to win, and we’re making a nice little push right now.”
-- And lastly, the Phillies lost a genuinely good guy in J.A. Happ. He has always handled himself professionally -- especially with the writers -- but was obviously overcome with emotion Thursday. Happ is a smart guy (three years at Northwestern will do that, I suppose). He understands the situation, but it didn't make it any easier for him. All he's known is this organization. Wish him the best with Houston, where he starts Friday night.