Yesterday, 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.