Big League Stew - MLB

These are two great file photos of Roy Oswalt(notes) and Stephen Strasburg(notes), and there are two great instances in which both could — nay, should — be used.

One would be if it was announced that a baseball-playing cat was joining MLB.

The other would be if each had just learned that the aging Houston Astros vet was being traded for the future phenom of the Washington Nationals

Look at the photos! Feel their bewilderment! 

OK, so you might have seen this a few places on Monday, but I think it has to be recorded on BLS for posterity, anyway.

While talking to WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday, vagabond baseball analyst Steve Phillips said he'd trade Strasburg for Oswalt if he were the Nats general manager because of a win-now mentality.

Dan Steinberg has most of the back-and-forth, and the money line that should guarantee that Phillips will never get another front-office job came right after Francesa asserted that Strasburg would end up having a much better career than Oswalt. 

"You think he will? I don't know that. And even if he is, if I think that I want Roy Oswalt to help me win this year, you know what?

"I'm one of the guys, I make that deal." 

Given that Phillips doesn't exactly have the best eye for evaluating talent or weighing short- and long-term risks, it should come as no surprise that he has a cockamamie scheme to trade away baseball's best pitching prospect of the past decade for a 32-year-old who hasn't been the picture of perfect health.

And yet it's still no less shocking that Phillips actually thinks it'd be a good idea to give up six years of team control on a pitcher with unlimited potential for a season and a half of a pitcher who's due $15 million this season and $16 million in 2011.

That Phillips assumes Ed Wade would trade for anyone not previously associated with the Phillies challenges our beliefs, too. 

There's not a chance in the world of this proposal ever happening and if it weren't for Phillips' track record as Mets GM, we'd be forced to wonder if this whole thing is a ruse to increase his profile as he looks for a bigger outlet than AOL Fanhouse

But while there's an urge to laugh and then move on, I think there's actually a valuable lesson for Nats GM Mike Rizzo to learn and accept, if he hasn't already.

And that lesson is this: If Washington keeps moving along with the meddling middle that is most of the National League, he's going to have to resist the temptation to trade away some of his young talent that's a part of the long-term plan — not necessarily even Strasburg — in an attempt to grab the wild card now.

Yeah, Doyle Alexander worked out for the Tigers in 1987, but was an AL East title really worth giving up a future Hall of Famer in John Smoltz(notes)?

Flipping Strasburg for Oswalt would have the potential to be about a million times worse.    

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