Personal issues aside, I always thought Steve Phillips had some degree of credibility as a baseball commentator. He was, after all, a big league GM with the New York Mets at one point in his life.
Now, however, I have to assume that the level of stress in his life has impaired his judgement. During an appearance on WFAN in New York, Phillips told host Mike Francesa that, were he running the Nationals, he'd swap Stephen Strasburg - as part of a package - to Houston for Roy Oswalt.
Phillips said that while Strasburg was a good college pitcher, and has been a good minor league pitcher, there was no guarantee that Stephen would ever be the pitcher that Oswalt is now.
Oswalt is 32. Strasburg is 21. While it's true that Oswalt has been a top-of-the-rotation guy for several years, will he still be effective at age 35? Does he even want to pitch another 5 or 6 seasons? Phillips seemed to believe that the Nationals should "go for it" now, this season, and that trading for Oswalt would be a sign that they were serious about doing that.
That he believed the Astros would demand a package of players including Strasburg indicates that he sees last year's number one pick as only even money to succeed. Maybe he's right about that, but why would the Nationals, after all of the time and money invested in scouting, signing, and developing young talent, opt to bail on the most heralded young arm in more than a generation?
I've already heard from a couple of people inside baseball who've said a statement like this is, well, kind of nutty, and could haunt Phillips should he ever want to work for a club again.
Perhaps he has other priorities...like getting his own house in order.