Who's Leaving First: Ed Wade, Cecil Cooper or Roy Oswalt?

The Astros were able to actually win a series this weekend, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in two of three games. And the good news is that they should be able to win a couple of games this week as their next four games are against the Colorado Rockies, another losing team, like the Astros, but one who just fired its manager.

But that's not the real news emerging from the Astros this weekend. First there's a report from SI.com on Friday that says it's Ed Wade, not Cecil Cooper, who should be fired. The report, from the well-respected Jon Heyman, states that the problems the Astros are facing are Wade's fault, not Cooper's. Wade is labeled as a frequent and negative presence in the Astros clubhouse who talks tough but backs down when the going gets tough.  

Heyman then uses this to shed some new light on the Shawn Chacon incident last year. Primarily, Heyman writes, Wade was so hated that, afterwards, Chacon was privately cheered by his teammates. This tracks with some things I heard about what happened, primarily that no player moved to stop Chacon when the incident began and that it was only when it looked like Wade would be seriously hurt that Hunter Pence moved in to pull Chacon off.

I still see Cooper being fired before Wade, however. And that's because Wade and team president Tal Smith are old friends, and it was Smith who pushed Drayton McLane to hire Wade. McLane made the decision about Cooper on the advise of Bud Selig, not Tal Smith, so I can see Smith convincing McLane to give Wade the chance to bring in his own guy to run the club. Not that any of that matter will as long as Wade keeps giving the likes of Kaz Matsui big contracts.

And the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that the relationship between Cooper and Roy Oswalt has become so toxic that Oswalt wants to be traded. Jose de Jesus Ortiz reported earlier last week that the Chicago White Sox had scouts following the Astros around, and he reported yesterday that Roy Oswalt would pull a Jake Peavy and refuse any trade to the White Sox. He did report that Oswalt would be interested in any trade that would send him to the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals.  

Ortiz also reports that the Astros and White Sox aren't in trade talks. The problem with his report is that -- like his criticism about the Tribune reports on Oswalt in which Ortiz claims nobody actually bothered to speak with Oswald -- Ortiz didn't confirm the story with either the White Sox or the Astros, but instead relies on an unnamed National League official who tells him that there are no trade talks in progress.

And seeing how wrong Ortiz was about Kaz Matsui's condition -- Ortiz mentioned in the live blog to Friday's game that the injured Matsui was available to play only to have Matsui put on the disabled list after Friday's game -- one really has to be a bit suspicious regarding what Ortiz writes about what's really happening with the team.

Anyway, if you're up to watching a ball team implode, the Astros will be home all this week, taking on the Colorado Rockies for four games followed by a weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I'm sure that plenty of good seats are available.

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal