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Urbina ShockeróWade Boggs Down Phils Again!
2005-06-08 22:20
by Mike Carminati

Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

—William "Author" Shakespeare, Macbeth

Ed Wade has to go. And now…

Not tomorrow. Not after he flubs the ball at the trade deadline again.

It can't wait for the inevitable house cleaning at the end of the year. He could wiggle out again like he did last year by keeping walking dead manager, Larry Bowa, until the end of the season.

Marlon Byrd for Endive Chavez was inept enough. Now, Wade has traded one of his trump cards for a mercurial would-be closer.

Wade re-signed Placido Polanco in the offseason even though everyone in the organization backed aging prospect Chase Utley as the regular second baseman. Their new rube manager, Charlie Manuel, decided to platoon the two. While Polanco started slowly, he still shared time with Utley. Wade alluded to holding onto Polanco and Quad-A first baseman Ryan Howard as deadline bait. As Polanco improved, so did the Phils fortunes. They are now in second in a surprisingly bunched-up division—2.5 games separate all five clubs. The Phils it should be noted are now healthy while the Braves have had key injuries and the Marlins have been slumping offensively. They trail division-leading Washington by 1.5 games.

So Wade chose this moment to spring. He decided to play one of his cards to perform a Billy Beane-esque pre-trade deadline revamp. So did Polanco bring a much needed starter? Or how about a young catcher who can take over for aging Mike Lieberthal? Or a similar eventual replacement for disappointing David Bell?

No, the Phils exchanged Polanco for overrated closer Ugueth Urbina and 32-year-old utility infielder Ramon Martinez. Great, because the Phils don't have a closer or utility infielder. Wait, they have Billy Wagner, who's far superior to Urbina, and Tomas Perez, who's better than Martinez.

Wade deftly explains his approach:

"The price was high, but to be able to get a proven bullpen arm who has pitched at a championship level, it was too good to pass up," Phillies general manager Ed Wade said, adding that Tigers president Dave Dombrowski told him he was close to moving Urbina to another team in the NL East.

The last time I heard an explanation like that, it came from the GM of the last-place team in my fantasy league. So I think it went this way, Dombrowski called up Wade,

Dombrowski: "Hey, Ed, I know that you like Urbina. So I just wanted to let you know."
Wade: "Know what?"
Dombrowski: "I'm close to moving Urbina to one of your division rivals. Guess who?"
Wade: "What? Why didn't you call me?"
Dombrowski: "What do you think I'm doing?"
Wade: "OK, whatever you're getting I can do better."
Dombrowski: "OK…?"
Wade: "Well, you know we have two second basemen and Infante just isn't cutting it. But I need more than just Urbina…"
Dombrowski: "Well, I'll have an extra middle infielder. You get to start your young second baseman. You'll get the same production from his extra time at second plus the backup as you would from Polanco. Plus you get Urbina to set up Wagner. You know how the pen has been killing you guys this year. You shore that up…"
Wade: "Yeah, that would be great."
Dombrowski: "…Or you package Urbina or Wagner, which ever you want, to get a starter at the break…"
Wade: "OK, but tell me the trade with the Braves is dead."
Dombrowski: "All right, you know I like you better than those Atlanta elitists anyway…"

The only positive is that even Manuel can't screw up the lineup by limiting Utley's time now. Team management by the numbers was apparently needed.

Although, this may cause Wagner to start looking over his shoulder. And no holes were filled.

It was a move for the sake of making a move, a fantasy player with an itchy finger and a fear of losing a crappy reliever to a rival.

When do we get Ryan Howard for Todd Jones anyway?

2005-06-09 06:33:30
1.   Murray
You can have Todd Jones only if you ask really nicely. But I don't think he'll like Philly's travel advertising campaign...
2005-06-09 11:46:25
2.   Hop Wechsler
When was the last time a team traded trade bait in exchange for trade bait? I'm now waiting for Detroit to trade Polanco to a contender and the Phillies to trade Urbina (or Wagner) to a contender...hey, what about Wagner for Polanco?

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