Was Ed Wade’s Reign as Houston Astros GM As Detrimental as it Seemed?

Thomas Campbell – USA TODAY Sports

To answer the question posed in the title: Yes. But that’s not the overall point here.

First of all, let me just say that no one was more critical of Ed Wade during his time as GM for the Houston Astros than I was. I truly believed he was sabotaging the team. It didn’t help that after he was fired he immediately had a job with his Philadelphia Phillies, a team that he always made it his priority to trade with, as well as being their former GM.

While I’m still fairly convinced he single-handedly set the Astros back several years, it may be beneficial to look at the final deals he made to rebuild the Astros’ system.

Skipping over his failed Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt trades, the deals he made on his way out of Houston are the focal points of this article. After all, it’s a known fact that, while he was safe and sound as GM, he did the team few favors. Everyone knew was going to be fired after the 2011 season, so it’s the trades he made while knowing this that matter.

First off was the trading of fan favorite Hunter Pence to, you guessed it, the Phillies. Initially this trade was outrageous because rumors surfaced that the Atlanta Braves had offered Julio Teheran for Pence and the Cincinnati Reds claimed a bigger trade as well, but what the Astros got in return will largely be judged by the 2014 season: Jared Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid and a PTBNL who turned out to be Domingo Santana.

Throwing out Zeid, at least for now, this trade has the makings to produce three starting Astros within the next few years, with Cosart and Singleton already primed to take MLB by storm. While both were high risk, high reward players, Cosart has already panned out and Singleton is ready to make the first base job his. It may turn out that this deal was one of the best the Astros have ever made.

While Pence is no doubt missed, Cosart was fantastic in his short 2013 season. Singleton is the No. 1 first base prospect, and Santana has so many raw tools it’s scary.

Then there’s the Michael Bourn to the Braves trade that brought in Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer and Paul Clemens.

This trade looked a huge bust from the get-go, but now that Oberholtzer is panning out, it’s looking decent. Again, the trade will be much easier to judge following the 2014 season.

Overall, despite Wade making numerous questionable decisions in his tenure and the fact that he was in cahoots with his beloved Phillies, he did make some last-gasp moves that, while unpopular, brought the Astros several potential superstars. For that, he deserves at least a little applause, but not too much. After all, trading six prospects for an aged Miguel Tejada may offset all the positive moves he ever made.

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  • Bob Hulsey

    Once again, Josh Insippie is making a fool of himself. It was clear the orders were to trade Pence and Bourn before they hit free agency and telegraphing it that way is a bad way to get a good trade. The Bourn trade was thrown together at the deadline and looks like it. The Pence deal is beginning to look like robbery but it depends on Singleton and he’s done nothing in Houston so far.

    But if you want to be fair with Ed Wade, you have to add that several other future stars that will be wrongly credited to Jeff Luhnow someday were Wade acquisitions. Jason Castro, George Springer, Delino DeShields, Jr., and Mike Foltynewicz among them. None of that with the benefit of having layup drafting positions like Luhnow has had.

    Was Wade perfect? Of course not. But he did build the nucleus of the Phillies 2008 title team and will be a part someday if the Astros win a title before the end of the decade.

    Dumping on Ed Wade is for shallow minds that don’t understand baseball. Meanwhile, much of the Luhnow trade acquisition have yet to bear much fruit.

    • Josh Sippie

      If we’re going to draw on what Wade did for the Phillies, then we must be fair and draw on what Jeff Luhnow did for the Cardinals as well. The majority of the nucleus that the Cardinals are built around right now was at the hands of Luhnow, who was in charge of scouting and player development.

      I agree, Wade did some good things for the Stros, you said it yourself, Springer, Castro, DDJ, Folty – all fantastic prospects. But those are but four names in five years. That’s not a good average. Not to mention his Miguel Tejada trade was an absolutely abysmal deal for Houston.

      Luhnow’s products are going to take some time, obviously, seeing as how he just started. But the early returns on his investments are positive, and if he can even somewhat duplicate the success he had in St. Louis, then his contributions to the team will prove that we were not at all wrong to dump on Wade, whose years as GM drove the Astros into the pit they’re in now.

      Like I said, Wade made some last ditch acquisitions and some of his pieces are coming to fruition now, but by and large, it’s up to Luhnow to recuperate a decimated system that was destroyed by your boy Wade.