Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: August 10, 2010 6:22 pm

Blue Jays shuffle rotation

Brett Cecil The Blue Jays are moving two pitchers back in the rotation.

Brett Cecil cut his right knee on a fall, according to manager Cito Gaston via MLB.com's Jordan Bastain and required three stitches. As a result, Cecil's Thursday start is being shoved to Saturday. As a result, Cecil will dodge the Red Sox in the final game of the upcoming series and go up against Trevor Bell and the Angels.

Saturday's starter -- you may have heard of him -- will also be pushed back, this time three days. Brandon Morrow recently fired a complete-game shutout requiring 137 pitches and the team is exercising caution with the 26-year-old. As a result, Morrow loses out on the Angels and will duel Oakland, presumably against Dallas Braden. Hopefully Morrow won't encroach on Bradenia too bad.

As a result of the moves, Boston will see Brad Mills on Thursday, who is being promoted from Triple-A. Mills has made two starts on the season thus far, posting a 4.05 ERA over 11 innings -- which appears lucky as he has averaged 5.7 walks per nine innings and 4.9 whiffs per nine. The 25-year-old has 17 starts in Triple-A, checking in with a 4.20 ERA and a much more sane 7.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

On Friday, the Angels will see Mark Rzepczynski. The lefty had a solid major-league debut in 2009, posting a 3.67 ERA in 11 starts. However, that ERA has soared to 7.15 in two starts and two relief appearances on the season despite a 1.6 BB/9 and 10.3 K/9 mark thanks to an obscene .458 BABIP. However, his minor-league tour hasn't gone well either. He has an unsightly 6.04 ERA in 12 starts, although BABIP is plagued him there as well.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 8, 2010 3:54 pm

Morrow falls short of no-hitter

Brandon Morrow Brandon Morrow is a filthy pitcher and proved it Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jay walked just two batters while punching out an insane career-high 17 batters, but fell short of a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. Evan Longoria sent a wicked grounder to second base where Aaron Hill ranged deep but was unable to corral the ball.

The official scorer immediately noted it as a hit, bringing the year's potential fifth official no-hit game to a failed end. Morrow was also hurt by walking Ben Zobrist with one out, as Aaron Hill was at double-play depth. If he was at his regular position, that ball is likely a routine out.

Morrow is in his first season with the Jays, finally a full-time starter as he coveted and has given Toronto a strong, young pitcher to build around. He blends a mid-90s fastball with a wicked slider and complementary pitches in the curveball and changeup. Morrow's fastball velocity has actually decreased, as the former walk-prone righty has eased off his velocity to achieve better command.

Morrow has been able to do just that, reducing his walks per nine innings from 5.59 in May to a number that hasn't exceeded 3.52 per month since while his strikeout rate has remained rather stable. His high strikeout rate, however, has limited him to an average of just just under six innings innings per start in 2010 due to a high pitch count. In fact, on Sunday, Morrow threw 137 pitches, a new career-high after his previous mark of 116, set on July 4.

Coming into the game, Morrow's ERA sat at 4.79 (4.45 after his complete-game shutout) but that hides his actual value which is partly due to a high batting average on balls in play -- his xFIP is at 3.86. Combine that with his high-octane offerings, and the 26-year-old has to be considered one of the better young pitchers in the game.

Meanwhile, the Rays exhaled a sigh of relief, as the team has had its fill of no-hitters -- it would have been the third time on the season the Rays were blanked, fourth in two years.  Tampa Bay fell to Edwin Jackson (then with Arizona) and his superhuman 149 pitches and had Dallas Braden of the A's notch a perfecto in May, this coming a year after the White Sox' Mark Buehrle perfect game. The Rays also have a no-hitter on their side of the ledger with the previous no-hitter on July 26 being thrown by Matt Garza against the Tigers.

Named one of the most likeliest pitchers to throw a no-hitter by MLB Facts and Rumors on June 22, Morrow's bid at immortality will have to wait at least five more days.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 7, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 4:51 pm

Homer barrage for Jays, Arencibia

J.P. Arencibia
It's safe to assume J.P. Arencibia will never forget his first game as a major leaguer.

Toronto's catching phenom made a major impact in his debut, homering on the first big-league pitch he saw and later adding a solo shot as the Blue Jays played a highly entertaining game at home against the Rays. They hit eight homers in winning 17-11.

Tampa Bay starter James Shields tied a modern-era major-league record by giving up six home runs, all in the first four innings. According to Stats LLC, baseball's official stat-keeper, Shields is the eighth pitcher since 1900 to give up six in an outing.

Arencibia (pictured at right), called up Wednesday after John Buck was hurt, hit a two-run homer on a 93-mph Shields fastball in the second inning. He added a double in his second at-bat and a solo homer in the sixth. He was 4 for 4 in his first six innings as a big leaguer and finished 4 for 5.

Arencibia was the first Toronto player to homer in his first at-bat since Junior Felix in 1989.

The Rays had never given up more than six homers in a game. They also set a team record by allowing 48 total bases.

The Blue Jays have the major-league record with 10 homers in a game (all the more amazing because they only batted eight times) against the Orioles on September 14, 1987. Here is the box score from that game.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 4, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 5:24 pm

Toronto catcher Buck hurt

The Blue Jays are waiting to hear about the severity of a hand injury to All-Star catcher John Buck.

Buck was struck by a foul tip off the bat of Alex Rodriguez (who is apparently trying to ruin everyone's day today) in the fifth inning. He grasped his right hand in obvious pain and was attended by trainers before coming out of the game and being replaced by backup Jose Molina.

Hopefully it's nothing serious for Buck, who's having a really solid season (.277/.311/.502, 14 homers, 49 RBI). The good news, if you could call it that, is that if Buck does have to miss time it will likely give Jays fans their first look at top prospect J.P. Arencibia, who is lighting up Triple-A (.303/.360/.639, 31 homers, 79 RBIs) and knocking loudly on the big-league door.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: According to MLB.com (via Twitter ), Buck suffered a laceration of the thumb, X-rays were negative and he's listed as day-to-day.

UPDATE: Buck had three stitches in the thumb and has been placed on the disabled list. The Jays did not immediately say who would replace him on the roster, but Arencibia is a good bet.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 4:19 pm

Winners/losers of trading deadline

Now that the non-waiver trading deadline is past, it's time to take a look back at the winners and losers. While players aren't done switching teams and plenty more will find new zip codes on their mailing addresses in August via the waiver process, it becomes far harder to pull trades off.

Grades are relative to the team's window of contention, goals at the deadline and outcome -- not to other teams.

Angels: L.A. imported Alberto Callaspo from the Royals to plug the dike that was the third-base gaping hole, then absolutely pilfered Dan Haren away from the Diamondbacks. They promptly lost Joel Pineiro to injury, but do have a greater chance at competing this season, even as the Rangers improved themselves. For 2011 and 2012, they kept themselves right in contention to be division champions. With money coming off the books the next season and two, they should be players in free agency and now can trumpet Haren as a front-line pitcher for free agents to play with. Grade: B+

J.A. Happ Astros: The Astros did well in the idea of trading away Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt to begin the trading process. The return for Oswalt from Philadelphia met with a few raised eyebrows. The team is high on J.A. Happ (pictured, left) even though no one else is. The deal was salvaged by flipping Anthony Gose from Brett Wallace. The Lance Berkman trade was tough to swallow. They traded a face of the franchise to the Yankees, picking up salary along the way for retread prospects. This was a deal strictly about money, not about helping the team -- although it did free up a spot for Wallace. Grade: C+

Athletics: The Billy Beane-led A's did nothing at the deadline, which wasn't the wrong choice. Texas and Los Angeles made too many steps to outpace a team that was going to have a hard time keeping pace anyways. What didn't make sense was their adamant position that they wanted to keep Ben Sheets and not trade him. But whoops -- a torn flexor tendon that knocks Sheets out for about a year and causes $10 million to go down the drain in Oakland happened. Grade: D

Blue Jays: Toronto had to give up intriguing prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to ship out Alex Gonzalez to the Braves, but got back young shortstop Yunel Escobar and pitching depth in Jo-Jo Reyes. Gonzalez was a great flier for the rebuilding Jays rather than the short-term Gonzalez -- There's tons of upside with Yunel. Demerits are assessed by a reportedly high price to trade Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg or Scott Downs. None of them will help Toronto contend anytime soon, and the fact that Jesus Montero and Casey Kelly were prices for Downs is outrageous. They should have done everything they could to move Frasor, and probably could have gotten nice value for Gregg. The only defensible non-trade is Downs, who probably will be a Type-A free agent. Grade: C+

Braves: The Braves made moves for this year, but severely damaged their long-term chances in the process. Selling Yunel Escobar off for Gonzalez, Collins and Pastornicky was questionable enough, but then turned Collins, fungible reliever Jesse Chavez and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Huh? Grade: C- ... and it's not a D because they did at least improve their chances this year.

Brewers: The Brewers did nothing except try to improve their pitching and determine whether it was time to trade Prince Fielder or not. Fielder is likely a goner in the offseason or next season's trade deadline, but there's nothing wrong with hanging onto him. There wasn't much Milwaukee was in a position to do. Jim Edmonds reportedly didn't want to ship out, and past that they didn't have much in the way of valuable trade chips. Grade: N/A

Cardinals: The Cardinals brought in Jake Westbrook. That was good. They traded Ryan Ludwick. Not so good. There are hints that the Ludwick dealing was financially motivated to keep Albert Pujols in town. That's well and good, but Ludwick-to-Westbrook is largely a lateral move, even factoring in more playing time for Colby Rasmus. Grade: C

Cubs: It's tough to begin a rebuilding process once again, but Ted Lilly was a free agent so there was no overwhelming reason to keep him. Ryan Theriot has become punchless at the plate, and they upgrade with Blake DeWitt from the Dodgers anyways. Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach -- two young, minor-league pitchers -- are decent arms. They tried to deal Derrek Lee, but Lee nixed it with his no-trade clause. Can't penalize GM Jim Hendry for that. Grade: B-

Diamondbacks: The Dan Haren trade was odd, no two ways about it. Yes, Joe Saunders won quite a few games in Los Angeles, but so what? He's a No. 4 starter who has a shot at being a No. 3 by virtue of being in the NL, but that's about it. The prospects acquired were underwhelming, although the expected acquisition of Tyler Skaggs will soothe jilted D-Backs fans somewhat. Snyder was a pure cash dump -- but not indefensible. If the team's not contending, why pay a backup catcher millions? Even without receiving anyone of true value, except perhaps D.J. Carrasco, it was high time for Arizona to move on from Snyder. They won out on Edwin Jackson big time, shedding salary for an underperforming starter and getting a young, cost-controllable starter (Daniel Hudson) along with prospect David Holmberg.

Dodgers: The Dodgers gave up quite a bit for Octavio Dotel, even if Dotel is cost-controllable through 2011 on a team option. That trade may come back to bite them hard, even if they needed Dotel to challenge for the division. The Ted Lilly acquisition was nice, and if you concede that Blake DeWitt was the price for Lilly, then Ryan Theriot wasn't a bad grab either. They definitely put the pieces together to contend, but is it too little, too late? Grade: C+

Giants: San Francisco tried to bring in a bat. They really did. They tried for Adam Dunn, David DeJesus (and if he hadn't gotten hurt for K.C., might be in San Fran right now), Scott Podsednik... but nothing came together. They instead settled for two middle relievers: Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Giving up John Bowker and Joe Martinez for Lopez is a curious move, even if they have strong outfield depth. Jonathan Sanchez was a popular name in talks for a bat, but S.F. was understandably leery of dealing the lefty. The Ramirez trade cost them an average middle relief prospect. They'll continue mixing-and-matching on offense, and the bullpen is definitely better off for the adds. Grade: B

Jake Westbrook Indians: The Indians wanted to get rid of people they didn't want and had no need for. The millions they saved in shipping Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns off -- even without getting any players of consequence in return -- were worth it. Westbrook (pictured, right) finally was shipped out as well, and while prospect Corey Kluber isn't an exciting name, he's enough of an intriguing player that the Indians clearly came out ahead in this season's trade deadline, which was all about shedding irrelevant pieces. Would have been nice for a rebuilding team to get a good prospect, though. Grade: B

Mariners: The Mariners dealt Cliff Lee to get Justin Smoak and a bevy of prospects. That was a solid deal, even if Smoak has just been demoted to Triple-A. That was it, however. While Seattle is in a different place than most rebuilding clubs because they are contenders just struggling through an awful season (advice to GM Jack Zduriencik: bring in some bats next year for a change). Still, it's surprising they weren't more active. The reason Russ Branyan was acquired and then not flipped is... heck, I don't know. Grade: C

Marlins: The Marlins shipped off Jorge Cantu, who was playing third base. That temporary lack of depth at third hurts, although Chris Coghlan will man the hot corner once he returns from injury. It was nice to see the Marlins bring in Will Ohman to contribute out of the bullpen, however. Florida was in a tough place: a team good enough to contend, but not quite good enough to be true buyers. They essentially held serve here while saving a bit of money and importing Evan Reed from the Cantu trade, who has a chance to develop into a nice arm. Grade: B-

Mets: The Mets did nothing here, even though they would have loved to get rid of Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Jeff Francouer. No one was having any of it, though, and New York was adamant in not trading its top prospects. You can argue they should have loosened the purse strings a bit to bring in someone, but there was no one overwhelming that made sense for a team slipping out of the division race. A middle-of-the-rotation starter would have been a lateral move, while only a major hitter could have been considered an upgrade -- and then you're back to having to deal top prospects. One problem: their window of contention is now. Grade: C-

Nationals: The Nationals failed to trade Adam Dunn. There is zero reason why they shouldn't have. Grade: F

Orioles: The Orioles are once again a team with no plan, trading away reliever Will Ohman for a fringe major-league reliever. For a squad headed to one of the worst finishes in team history, why exactly they weren't more aggressive sellers is baffling. Ty Wigginton is still on this team... why? The one saving grace is shipping Miguel Tejada off for Wynn Pelzer, who might turn into quite a relief arm. Grade: D+

Ryan Ludwick Padres: I think this Jed Hoyer guy is going to end up a nice GM. The Miguel Tejada trade was OK -- nothing special, but didn't exactly cost much either and the Padres had a real need for someone with decent pop who can play the infield. The Ryan Ludwick (pictured, right) trade was incredible -- he immediately becomes the team's second-best hitter, trading away no one of consequence. Grade: B+

Phillies: The Phillies gave up J.A. Happ and two far-away prospects for Roy Oswalt, emphatically closing the book on the idiotic idea to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason. It would have been nice if they could have imported a utility player like Ty Wigginton or Willie Bloomquist for the stretch run, as Chase Utley isn't exactly on the verge of returning and the depth on the bench is thin. However, after the initial trade for Lee and later the Oswalt deal, the Phillies are near tapped out on money and prospects. Bottom line: they did what they could. Grade: B+

Pirates: The Bucs were quiet then exploded in a frenzy, acquiring Chris Snyder in a buy-low move that saw them give up absolutely no one of consequence . Ryan Church is a backup outfielder, D.J. Carrasco is a solid middle reliever and not much else and backup infielder Bobby Crosby. If he plays full-time, Snyder has a real chance to reclaim the value that made Arizona sign him to a contract extension in the first place -- which 'Zona will help pay. Pittsburgh then shipped out a lefty reliever best used against just lefties for a swingman in Joe Martinez and a solid outfielder who can give them years of cheap production, even if he never morphs into a starting regular. The Octavio Dotel trade to L.A was sublime , getting a viable starter who could end up a strong reliever and one of the Dodgers' best prospects in Andrew Lambo. Grade: A

Rangers: Boy howdy, was Texas busy. They bit the bullet to bring in Cliff Lee, which instantly made it viable World Series contenders, then continued to supplement with Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman. Obviously, the Rangers are going for it this year and it's hard to fault them when they have such a strong team. It hurts to lose Smoak, but there are questions about his long-term success anyways, and first-base is not exactly impossible a void to fill. Cantu and Guzman cost them a few average prospects, ones that can easily be mortgaged for a chance like this to win a ring. Grade: A

Rays: Tampa Bay brought in a reliever with an ERA over 8, and that was it. (Okay, so Chad Qualls has a chance to be a solid reliever for the team.) The team desperately needs a thumper, although Matt Joyce is currently making everyone smile since being recalled from Triple-A. Tampa is in an interesting position: able to take on payroll for a playoff push, but which is slashing payroll to around $60 million next year. Adam Dunn would have been a great fit, but Tampa can't concede future seasons just for one "win-now" year -- that would be irresponsible. Grade: C+

Red Sox: The Red Sox were largely quiet until the very end, when they shipped off Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco for an average middle-relief prospect. This trade was more about opening space for intriguing names at Triple-A. The team then struck for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, long coveted by the team, for an average first-base prospect and intriguing, but raw, Class A arm. They were unable to make anything come together to supplement the major-league roster, but figure to be active in waiver trading. For a team falling out of the race, besieged by injuries, it was probably prudent not to do anything drastic and instead build until next year while integrating its returning players and seeing who pops up in August. Grade: C

Reds: Cincy is in the hunt for the division but may have benefited by seeing the Cardinals trade away Ryan Ludwick. They have Aroldis Chapman presumably coming up to help the bullpen shortly and no overwhelming holes. Making a trade would have smacked of making a deal for deal's sake. It would not be surprising to learn that they shot high with their targets and couldn't make anything come together. They could stand to add a middle reliever, but also have Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey on the recovery trail. Staying pat was probably smart. Grade: B

Rockies: The Rockies couldn't make anything happen despite a team falling out of the race which had a really good shot at the division. They couldn't trade Brad Hawpe with Todd Helton's struggles. When Troy Tulowitzki went on the disabled list two months ago, it was very disappointing that Colorado decided to stand pat and see how the team played without Tulowitzki to determine whether to be buyers or sellers. They were already planning to buy to help the team with Tulowitzki, so it should be no surprise Colorado found itself out of the race. They should have done more. Grade: D

Rick Ankiel Royals: It's not often there are good things to say about the Royals, but there's a time for everything. Kansas City did fantastic in shedding Rick Ankiel (pictured, left) and Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta. Farns is a strong middle reliever, but that's all he is while Ankiel was blocking other players with a better impact at helping K.C. contend in 2012. The return for Callaspo wasn't terrible, but not great. Grade: B-

Tigers: Detroit had far too many holes to do much of anything. They lost Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge all to the disabled list in a short span of time. They bought low on Jhonny Peralta who hammered two home-runs in his Tiger debut. You would have liked to see the Tigers be a bit more aggressive with the AL Central division crown available, but it's hard to blame them for holding onto their major prospects. There is no silver bullet available to make up for all the losses. Grade: C +

Twins: The Twins really love saves, as they traded one of the best prospects in Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps of Washington. Take the saves out, and Capps is an approaching-overpriced solid middle reliever. Even though Ramos had lost his luster somewhat, it's still a confusing move. They didn't get the starting pitcher they coveted either. Grade: D

White Sox: The ChiSox did everything they could and more to bring in Adam Dunn, but refused to sacrifice their future in Gordon Beckham. They acquired Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and a minor leaguer, perhaps hoping to flip Jackson to the Nationals. That's a no-go, so while the White Sox did technically upgrade their rotation, it's unclear whether they would have done so if they knew they wouldn't get Dunn. Plus, Jackson makes $8.35 million next year. Grade: C

Yankees: The Bronx Bombers wielded their financial might to bring in Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood at minimal cost. Berkman has the most chance to make an impact, taking on the role the Yankees thought Nick Johnson would. Kearns and Wood are supplemental pieces to the bench and bullpen, respectively, and won't be a huge loss if they don't work out. Overall, they gave up next-to-nothing in talent and cash they could burn anyways. The team made an aggressive push for Cliff Lee, but fell apart. In a market with no other clear upgrade than Lee, the Yankees decided to play it safe and keep their minor-league chips. Grade: B

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 31, 2010 2:07 pm

Bautista on field for Blue Jays

The Indians and Blue Jays are under way in Toronto, and Jose Bautista is playing. That means that as of now, there's nothing close on a trade. If there were an agreement even in principle, Toronto would pull him as a precaution.

The Jays were reportedly asking for major leaguers in return for baseball's home run leader, but apparently nobody has blinked -- yet. Bautista has hit a club-record 11 homers in July, and is batting .397 with seven homers and 23 RBI since the All-Star break. He's more valuable right now than he'll ever be, and the Jays would be best off accepting the best deal on the table in the next two hours.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 9:13 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 9:47 pm

Jays simply have to trade Bautista

Jose Bautista
Dear Toronto Blue Jays,

Trade Jose Bautista. Right now. Best offer you can get by Saturday afternoon, take it.

Yes, he's the talk of the town, and one of the only reasons anyone is paying attention to Blue Jays baseball. The fans will raise a stink. But you have to bite the bullet and do it anyway. 

The night before the trade deadline, the guy hit a grand slam. He's showcasing himself! By the time the ball cleared the wall, Alex Anthopoulos should have been hitting speed dial for whatever GM made the last offer. The idea is to sell high, and his value is never going to be higher than it is right now.

Nearly 14 percent of the times Bautista has come to the plate this season, he has hit a home run. He's hit 196 fly balls, and 31 of them -- nearly one in six -- have gone over the wall. These are not, as the stat folks say, "sustainable skills." Other teams will know this, but other teams who are under immense pressure to win a championship will not care at this particular moment.

Fact is, Jose Bautista is a .241 career hitter who other than this year is good for about 15 homers a year. The overwhelming odds are that he is going to go back to being that guy, or at least closer to being that guy than the monster you've seen this season. In all likelihood, 2010 Jose Bautista is 2000 Richard Hidalgo (44 homers, no more than 28 any other season). He's 1996 Brady Anderson (50, 24). Bautista is 29 and he's been in six organizations -- if he's got Albert Pujols potential, someone would have figured it out by now.

You're trying to build a team, and you don't need career-average Bautista as much as you need the multiple pieces you can get for him in the next few hours.

Trade him.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 5:24 pm

Oswalt headed to Philly

Roy Oswalt The Phillies have completed a deal for Houston's Roy Oswalt, which will give the Phillies a vaunted Big Three in the rotation along with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Wednesday night, we learned that the Phillies and Astros agreed on an Oswalt trade, with only the ace's approval needed. That has come.

Oswalt will bring a 6-12 record that will unquestionably start trending positive with the Phillies behind him. What the Phillies want more than that record is his 3.42 ERA in 129 innings, having struck out 120 and walked 34. Oswalt looked like the years of being a bona-fide ace were behind him after a poor 2009, but his 2010 has answered those questions and more.

While Philadelphia clearly erred in letting Cliff Lee go, it's to GM Ruben Amaro's credit that he struck for another pitcher and hasn't allowed the trading of Lee in the offseason to impact his decisions. Unlike some would do in his position, Amaro realized that the Lee deal was done -- finished. A sunk cost. You don't make decisions about the best way to improve your club moving forward by bemoaning moves of the past.

In addition, while Lee is a superior pitcher to Oswalt, Amaro also positions his rotation better for future success what with Oswalt under contract for 2011. Lee, of course, will command an exorbitant price as a free agent this offseason.

The Phillies also scored a coup by getting Oswalt to agree not to demand his 2012 option be exercised. According to ESPN's Amy Nelson, Philadelphia will instead allow Oswalt's no-trade clause to be retained as well tacking on an extra million to his 2012 buyout.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the 2012 option is actually a mutual option, and if Oswalt declines his end of the option, the buyout is unchanged. If the Phillies exercise their end and Oswalt opts out, that's when the buyout increases -- thought to be $2 million.

Given Philadelphia still retains the potential to pick up the option for $16 million, that extra million is certainly worth the protection of not having to lock into 2012. Given Oswalt has had multiple back problems along with a bevy of wrist issues, not being locked into a soon-to-be 33-year-old is a smart move. 

But that's not all the money Philly saves. The organization will also receive cash to help cover Oswalt's deal -- $11 million to be exact, according to ESPN.com . Oswalt is due roughly $25 million for the rest of the contract, including the 2012 buyout. The fact that Houston will foot the bill for almost half that total is impressive.

The trade is a three-for-one deal, with J.A. Happ the centerpiece headed to Houston along with two minor-leaguers.

Happ broke through in 2009 with a sterling 2.93 ERA in 23 starts and 12 relief appearances. While he helped propel Philly to a second consecutive NL pennant, he is simply a mirage. His BABIP has been unbelievably low in his major-league stints with a sky-high runners-stranded-on-base rate without a K/BB ratio approaching solid. It's why his xFIP last season was 4.49, and why one shouldn't be fooled by his 1.76 ERA through three starts in 2010 with an xFIP of 6.33. Anyone who strikes out five batters a game and walks seven will not see a sub-2.00 ERA last long.

Happ was injured in mid-April after making two starts and recently completed a rehab assignment but was assigned to Triple-A to continue his rehab. He was called up to the bigs to start on Sunday after Jamie Moyer hit the disabled list. Happ is essentially the NL version of Daisuke Matsuzaka -- doing it all with smoke and mirrors.

The two prospects in the deal are Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar .

Gose is only 19, and is currently trying to make his bat come alive at High Class A Clearwater, an aggressive level for his age. He's hitting .263/.325/.385 in 461 plate appearances, swiping 36 bases. He has a lot to learn about baserunning, however, as he's tacked on 27 times being caught stealing. Gose was ranked the No. 6 prospect by Baseball America in the offseason and was also named the best defensive outfielder in the system.

Gose is being spun to Toronto, who wanted the youngster in the Roy Halladay deal -- and uses a trade chip acquired in the Halladay deal to get it done. According to Rosenthal, Brett Wallace is being sent to Houston, whowas traded to Toronto from Oakland for Michael Taylor, who had been acquired from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay trade. One could argue, then, that the Jays apparently preferred Gose to Taylor, but that Philadelphia wouldn't give him up.

The 23-year-old Wallace is hitting .301/.359/.509 for Triple-A and is in his first season as a full-time first baseman. He figures to be the long-term replacement for Lance Berkman in Houston, although one has to wonder about Wallace's talent now that he's been traded three times in a two-year span. (He was sent to Oakland by St. Louis in the Matt Holliday trade last season.)

As for the prospect from Philly that is staying in Houston, the 19-year old Villar is playing for Class A Lakewood and hitting .271/.322/.358. There is not a lot to like here about the shortstop, though he is admittedly raw. Gose is raw too, but has a higher ceiling and some semblance of tools. One thing Villar has going for him is he can pick it on defense despite a staggering 42 errors in 99 games which isn't really indicative of fielding talent at that level.

Altogether, it is a rather underwhelming return Houston received for Oswalt. It is clear that the Astros sold Oswalt at a discount, much like Arizona and Dan Haren.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com