Ed Wade’s tenure as Phillies General Manager definitely didn’t end well. When the 2005 season ended and Wade was dismissed, most of the good things he had done (signing Jim Thome, trading for Bobby Abreu, drafting Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and bringing Charlie Manuel as manager) had been displaced by many of the boneheaded things he’d done (trades for Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen that netted nothing, inactivity at the trade deadline, bad contracts to David Bell and Mike Lieberthal) and things he hadn’t accomplished (namely missing the playoffs).
Some have argued that Wade was more valuable to the Phillies as the General Manager of the Houston Astros. While that is just snarky and largely inaccurate, it’s fair to say Ed Wade is not viewed by most Phillies fans as someone who did a bang-up job during his tenure here.
Apparently, Wade knows this, and is trying to prove to the skeptics of Philadelphia that he didn’t stink on ice.
In an interview with CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury on Wednesday, Wade made sure that everyone knew about one particular trade that would have been a horrible mistake for the Phillies had he pulled the trigger. Wade was asked how close he was to trading Ryan Howard when Thome was still the starting first baseman, to which he replied…
"Over the course of my eight years as general manager, there were opportunities to trade a lot of good players for good players in return. There was one deal that probably would have been very, very popular for a very short period of time. I had a conversation with Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s regarding Barry Zito, and if we had acquired Barry Zito at that time at the top of his game it would have been a very popular move. The cost of doing business was Chase Utley, Ryan Madson and Michael Bourn. We said no and the rest is history. The types of decisions we were making at that time, whether it was considering trading Ryan Howard, or keeping that core nucleus of guys, was that there had to be a point where everything fell into place. Fortunately for the ballclub, it fell into place [in 2008]. Unfortunately for me, it fell into place a couple of years after I left."
Keep in mind that Zito won the American League Cy Young Award in 2002 after going 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and an ERA+ of 158. At the time, he was one of the best starters in the game and would have definitely helped the Phillies in their quest for the Wild Card. It probably wasn’t an easy deal to turn down at the time, and to be fair, Wade did the right thing in saying no.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and Wade is correct in saying that, had he pulled the trigger on that deal back in 2003 or 2004, Phils fans probably would have cheered it.
But that’s not really my argument. What’s patently obvious, and a little sad, is Wade’s attempt to ingratiate himself to the Philly public by saying, “Hey guys, I didn’t suck THAT much. The fact that I turned down this deal proves I wasn’t an idiot!”
It’s a shameless attempt to curry favor with Phils fans in an attempt to rehabilitate his image. The fact is, Wade was not a terribly effective GM, either with the Phillies or the Astros. No matter how many stories he regales the public with from seven or eight years ago, it won’t change the fact he wasn’t the right guy for the job.
Mr. Wade, it’s time to let it go. Phils fans are happy to have you back with the organization and are hopeful you can work some of the same magic you did when you drafted Burrell, Utley and Hamels. But please, no more stories of yesteryear by the campfire.