Another year and another trade deadline dominated by the Philadelphia Phillies quest to acquire a starting pitcher. Last year the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee near the trade deadline, and this year they have acquired another front-line starter.

The Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for JA Happ and minor leaguers Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. The Astros will pick up $11 million on Oswalt’s contract and the Phillies will not pick up Oswalt’s 2012 option, which was a sticking point for a while.

With the acquisition of Oswalt, the Phillies now have a one-two punch that, in my opinion, is the best in baseball. I don’t think there is a team out there that can rival Roy Halladay and Oswalt as a one-two punch.

With this trade, Ruben Amaro Jr. has finally solved something that has been an issue for the Phillies the last three years—the quest for a legit No. 2 starter. The Phillies have always had an ace for the last three seasons, but their No. 2 starters were more like No. 3s.

With Oswalt, the Phillies have One and One-A.

Oswalt had a 3.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 8.37 K/9 rate (second highest of his career) in 20 starts for the Astros. He is consistently touching 93 on the gun with his fastball and his curve is as good as it’s ever been.

He will make his Phillies debut on Friday against the Washington Nationals.

For the Astros, they get Happ, who I’ve always liked. He finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, but has suffered from an injury plagued 2010. Happ isn’t a No. 1 type starter by any means, but he should be an above-average starter for the Astros for the next several years. He is under team control until 2014.

Villar is a 19-year-old shortstop who was hitting .272 with 38 stolen bases in 100 games for Single-A Lakewood this year. He is not a power guy, but with 82 career stolen bases in three minor league seasons, it looks like he has speed to burn.

Gose, who was the third player received in the deal, was immediately shipped off to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Wallace. Wallace, if you remember, was in the Matt Holliday trade last season. In the past three years, Wallace has been traded three times and has been on four different organizations.

I guess it’s better to be wanted than nobody wanting you at all.

Wallace becomes the Astros first baseman of the future. He was hitting .301 with 18 home runs and had a .359 OBP in 95 games for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. He was ranked the 27th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America prior to the season.

I think it was an okay haul for the Astros. The key to this deal will be the development of Wallace. If he can turn into an All-Star caliber first baseman for the Astros then this trade will look solid for them in the future.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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