Wade Swings Another Key Offseason Move

Phillies general manager Ed Wade has been kidnapped and replaced by a smarter, more baseball savvy and for all we know, evil, twin. That's the only explanation for what is happening with the Philadelphia Phillies. First, Billy Wagner arrives out of the blue. Then, Eric Milton, but only after a round of hardball with Scott Boras. Now, just as Tim Worrell was set to sign with Atlanta, Ed Wade – actually, his twin - has the guy singing "Philadelphia Freedom".

Is it possible that the offseason can be as much fun or possibly, even more fun than the regular season? After last season's David Bell, Jim Thome, Kevin Millwood trifecta, the Phillies are having more fun. Like a homeless guy who suddenly hit the lottery, Ed Wade is throwing money around here and there and even gambling some with the likes of Scott Boras.

Bringing Billy Wagner to Philadelphia was a stroke of genius. No waiting for the free agent market to work itself out and no loss of valued draft picks. Brandon Duckworth, Taylor Buchholz and Ezequiel Astacio got the deal done. Some good young pitching prospect were included, but not the ones that Phillies fans really worry about losing. The addition of Wagner was good, but there were a lot of bullpen holes to fill and there was the "Millwood Dilemna" to worry about.

Little did fans know, but on a slow Tuesday night in early December, Ed Wade called Millwood's agent, Scott Boras. Even though everyone in the world knew that Wade needed a starting pitcher, he wasn't about to cave in to Boras' demands of a five-year megabucks contract. The Phillies had offered a tidy, but yet substantial, three-year deal and Wade would go no higher. He finished the conversation by telling Boras that he wouldn't go any higher and was, in fact, pulling the three-year offer off the table. Before Boras' smirk even fully developed, Wade announced that he had sent reliever Carlos Silva and utility infielder Nick Punto to Minnesota for Eric Milton. He had his starter!

Less than a week rolled on and fans were convinced that Millwood was lost for good. Millwood himself admittedly "worried" that the Phillies wouldn't offer him arbitration and that he might have to settle for a lesser contract, possibly in a place that he didn't really want to be. To Millwood, the Phillies were his security blanket. Fans taunted Wade on internet message boards and radio call-in shows for losing Millwood without even getting draft picks in exchange. Then, fans awoke to the news that the Phillies had offered Millwood arbitration. Scott Boras was silent, but Millwood told a reporter that he was "relieved" that the Phillies at least had some interest in him. Now, it not only looked like the Phillies would get compensation, but that they might get Millwood back.

Fans also wondered why the Phillies hadn't offered arbitration to right-hander Terry Adams. It was assumed that the Phillies couldn't risk arbitration with both Millwood and Adams and decided to stick with Millwood. The new fear was that Wade would go cheap on the bullpen and we would be looking at Amaury Telemaco to get to Billy Wagner. Little did we know of Wade's kidnapping and the evil twin that was now running the show.

It's no real secret that one of the nicer aspects of signing Worrell is where he may have landed if the Phillies didn't strike when they did. Worrell was all but signed, sealed and delivered to the Atlanta Braves. It sounded very much like a done deal. So much so that Worrell was an afterthought in the guessing game of who the Phillies were signing. Names like Al Levine and Mike DeJean surfaced before Worrell because word out of Atlanta was that Worrell was theirs.

Ed Wade has suddenly become a hero. Where he was once berated, he is now cheered. He is the conquering hero that will lead our Phillies to World Series paradise. Tim Worrell is signed to a two-year deal and there is still enthusiasm for the potential signing of Kevin Millwood, which Wade still insists he wants to and, more importantly, can afford to do. Whether or not Millwood returns, this team is better. It's likely that Wade may still make a move or two to fill the remaining bullpen spots that are open. It's also likely that Millwood will realize that being in Philadelphia wasn't so bad after all.

One poster on the message board talked about knowing what it felt like to be a Yankees fan in the offseason. While that may be a stretch, we are enjoying this time, aren't we? Even as snow blankets our still to be completed new stadium, dreams have turned to the postseason. Of ending the Braves run at the top of National League East. Yes, there is joy in the City of The Cracked Bell.

With the Phillies making the right moves, the Eagles at the top of the NFC heap, the Flyers pounding their way through their NHL schedule and the Sixers…well, okay, the Sixers are hanging on for dear life. Still, all is well. You get the feeling that even Santa Claus will be safe from the occasional snow ball that has pelted him in the past. Welcome to Philadelphia.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories