It was just 34 days ago that Mike Costanzo got a call to let him know he was no longer in the Phillies organization. The team that he grew up loving and aspiring to play for cut his dream short when they included him in a package of players to Houston that brought closer Brad Lidge to the Phillies. The deal made sense in that Ed Wade, the GM that drafted Costanzo, had just taken over as the GM of the Astros not long before the deal. In fact, it was Wade's first major move with his new team.
Fast forward five weeks and Ed Wade again called Mike Costanzo. This time, to say good-bye. Wade included the third base prospect along with four other players in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles that brought Miguel Tejada to the Astros. "I was more surprised this time," said Costanzo of the deal that sends him to Baltimre. "I like it though, it's closer to home," remarked the 24 year old. After all, being close to home was part of the dream when the Phillies drafted him and helped him through the minor league ranks up to the Double-A level last season.
As for what the Orioles have in store for him, Costanzo isn't sure. "I talked to Andy MacPhail, the Orioles GM, and he didn't really say too much. I think they're all just letting it sink in," laughed Costanzo.
The deal between Houston and Baltimore sends Tejada to Houston for outfielder Luke Scott, Costanzo and pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate. Scott was the center piece of the deal, with Albers being a fairly close second. That doesn't mean that Costanzo was a throw-in. He's well respected for his raw talent and work ethic and the Orioles wanted him as part of the deal. The early returns on the trade are that Wade gave up too much to get a player whose best years may be behind him.
Baltimore could also provide a good opportunity for Costanzo. Although the Orioles top prospect, Bill Rowell, is a third baseman, he's just 19 years old and needs a lot of work. There is also talk that he could move to shortstop, where he played in high school. Ahead of Costanzo right now are Melvin Mora, who has been the subject of a number of trade rumors, including one scenario that had him coming to Philadelphia, and Scott Moore, who has also had a wild ride early in his career. Moore was drafted by the Tigers in the 2002 Draft with the eighth overall pick and then wound up in the Cubs organization as part of the Kyle Farnsworth deal in February of 2005. Coming into last season, Moore was the seventh ranked prospect in the Cubs organization. At the end of last August though, Moore was dealt again, this time to the Orioles in the deal that sent Steve Trachsel to the Cubs.
After joining his third organization in a little over a month, Costanzo himself had the best way of describing all that had gone on this offseason. "It's crazy," laughed the former prospect who not long ago, planned on living out his dream and anchoring third base in Philadelphia for years to come.