Ed WadeYesterday, Ed Wade was hired as the new general manager of the Houston Astros. He beat out about 11 other candidates, including Phillies Assistant GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.

The Phillies won while Wade was in charge, but they didn’t win enough. The team never made the playoffs in Wade’s eight years on the job.

Houston’s hiring of Wade will no doubt promt snickers from Philly fans, who ran Wade out of town on a rail two years ago.

Phillies fans largely didn’t like Wade. But I’m here to defend the man.

Let’s start with what matters most: Wade inherited a team that had finished last two straight years and had posted a losing record in 10 of the previous 11 seasons. In Wade’s final season as GM, the team went 88-74 this season and finished one game behind NL wild-card winner Houston. It was the Phillies’ third consecutive winning season and fourth in five years.

Jonk at The Good Fight, who has put together a list (borrowed from MLB Trade Rumors) of all of the major (and not so major) moves that Wade made while in charge of the Fightins, had this to say about what made Wade a good GM:

While it seems weird to be happy that a GM didn’t make a bad move, look at all the opportunities Wade had to mortgage our future to make the playoffs. Heck, maybe he should have, but where would we be today? Not many GMs would risk the temptation to not trade one of those 5 players, but Wade gets full credit from me for recognizing good talent and keeping it.

Am I upset the Phils haven’t made the playoffs during his tenure or since? Absolutely. But I can recognize that Wade made plenty of moves that helped this team and while he left the minors failry barren, he still kept the players that actually turned into something.

I gotta agree with Jonk. Wade’s legacy is that he assembled the nucleus of young stars who will lead the team for years to come. Utley. Howard. Hamels. Rollins. These are all Wade guys.

Sure, Wade left the Phillies’ farm system barren. But he didn’t trade any of the team’s young studs — just some future duds.

And, sure, Wade never won a championship in Philly. But so what? Neither did Charles Barkley or Ron Jaworski, and we’ve learned to remember them fondly.

So let’s cut Wade some slack. The man was a decent GM.

10 Responses to “Lock up your daughters. Ed Wade is back.”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Great post, Paul. As a shameless Boston homer, though, I still cleave to my idea for an opera focusing on the 2004 ALCS from a Yankee point of view. Like Rocky or Romeo and Juliet, it ends in tragedy…and then Mariano Rivera comes out and sings the l’envoi, a heart-rending “Don’t Cry for Me, Staten Island.”

  2. Ryan Howard would most likely have 200+ homers right now if he didn’t cock block him with Thome for the first couple years at The Bank. Besides that, Ed Wade was such a “Yes Man” it was pathetic. And then every year around the trade deadline he’d poke his little turtle head out of his shell and lie to the fans about how not making a trade was actually good for us. And I’ll never forgive him for trotting Paul Abbott out to the mound for 9 starts (I’m pretty sure he went 0-9) when the Phillies fell short of the playoffs by only a couple games in Wade’s last year with the Phils.

    While I respect your opinion that Ed Wade was “decent,” I have such a deep-rooted hatred for the man I can’t help but to feel sorry for Houston fans.

  3. I have to disagree with the Wade as a good GM argument. First, while it’s true that the Phillies drafted guys like Utley, Howard, and Hamels while he was GM, Wade was not in charge of the drafts. Mike Arbuckle is very much in charge of the Phillies scouting department and the credit for drafting those guys should go to him, not Wade.

    As for the argument that he didn’t mortgage the future. What about Gavin Floyd? Wade refused to trade him when his stock was sky-high and the kid never turned into anything. There’s probably other prospects that never became major leaguers that Wade could’ve traded and didn’t. The fact is he was overly cautious with the prospects. I will get down on my knees in thanks that he didn’t trade away Utley or Hamels, but maybe if he’d had the guts to pull the trigger on a deal at some point, they would’ve actually made the playoffs one of those years. Imagine packaging Gavin Floyd, once the Phils top prospect, for a major league stud that could have put the team over the hump?

  4. Ok, first of all, let’s not kill Wade for the players he DIDN’T trade. I mean, he didn’t trade Floyd. Fine. But Gillick did, and look how wonderfully that turned out.

    Maybe Wade was overly cautious. But it seems like trade dealine deals are such a crapshoot and they are almost never smart longterm decisions. One need only look at the Red Sox acquisition of Eric Gagne for the most recent example of a deadline deal gone horribly wrong.

    And sure, Howard was blocked by Thome for a little while. But come on, you loved watching Thome play in Philly. Admit it. If you’re going to block a guy like Howard, at least it was with a stud like Thome.

    And finally, if you’re going to forgive Gillick for making you watch J.D. Durbin, then you have to forgive Wade for making you watch Paul Abbot. Fair is fair.

  5. If you’re going to give him credit for not trading guys that turned out to be good, then it makes just as much sense to knock him for holding on to guys that turned out bad. The reason Gillick couldn’t get anything for Floyd is because Floyd’s stock had dropped so far by the time Wade was fired, that he didn’t have much value anymore.

    Trade deadline deals weren’t a crapshoot for the GM’s trading with Ed Wade. How about Curt Schilling for Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla, and Nelson Figueroa. Or Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco and Bud Smith. Those trades seemed to work out pretty well for the D-Backs and Cardinals. I don’t blame Wade for making them, he had to for financial reasons at the time, but the point is dealing prospects for established players often works.

    And Wade gets credit for making the Phillies competitive again, but that was basically because he was allowed to raise the payroll. He made some good moves with that money (Thome) and some really bad ones (David Bell, the Lieberthal extension).

    Wade wasn’t the worst GM ever, but he certainly wasn’t good.

  6. I’m sorry, but I just can’t criticize Wade for not trading a prospect who was only 22 years old at the time.

    And I’d also be a little wary of writing Floyd off. He’s still young and he’s been pitching well for the White Sox of late.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    While Floyd (1-4) is winless in his last four starts, the right-hander has put up good numbers, allowing just nine earned runs in that span for a 3.33 ERA.

    ”I like the way he’s thrown the last three outings, and hopefully he continues to do it,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.

  7. You said it yourself–he was a decent GM (which is more generous than I’d be). But when has being just above the middle ever been good enough in Philly. If Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Hamels were decent, we probably wouldn’t like them either.

    Simple fact of the matter is that the point of every non-rebuilding season is to win a World Series. Wade’s teams never won a division or got past the sniffing butt stage with the playoffs. Just developing talent isn’t good enough, you have to put together a winner.

    Adding to a legacy of not winning a damn thing, Wade left a barren future (one of the worst farm systems in the league), and all he is in Philly now is Pat Gillick’s excuse to lose. Not good enough.

    Eff Wading. We want someone who can swim.

  8. Listen, I’m not talking about a “blockbuster!!!” trade-deadline deal, I’m jussaying get someone. There are arms available at the waiver wire deadline. Instead, the Phils (led by Ed Wade) wouldn’t risk bringing in the extra coupla million for a chance at 9 starts.

    I mean, do you honestly think Ed Wade woulda made that Iguchi deal? Which might’ve just saved the Phils season, btw. If we tried to slide Abe Nunez into 2B & the 8 hole everyday, the Phils would be about 6 games out right now.

    Hey, say what you want about Ed Wade, but he isn’t the “hustler” type. I wouldn’t exactly call him a go-getter. And Pat Gillick isn’t as much of an upgrade as I’d hoped, but at least he has 4 different teams on his speed dial that makes trades with him. Wade had ZERO.

    Wade is, was, and always will be, a loser. I gare-on-tee it.

  9. Floyd has good stuff but I don’t think he has the mental make-up to ever be a good major-league pitcher. That’s completely based on my opinion though, and I can’t back that up in any way. Time will tell.

    I think I’ve said enough about this, but my point isn’t really: “Wade should have traded Floyd”. My point is just that I don’t think Wade deserves to get credit for “not mortgaging the future”, which is just a euphemism for “not doing anything”. That’s a good way to not end up looking like an idiot, but sometimes it can be the biggest mistake of all. If I was an Astros fan, I’d want a guy with some guts, a guy who’s willing to make a move that could backfire, but might also get you a World Series ring. That’s not Ed Wade.

  10. As a Daniel Sonenberg fan, I’m very glad that you followed up your initial post with this interview. You don’t have to like to opera, but the respect is appreciated!

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