Lots of good discussion in the FanShot about this, but this is big enough now to justify a full-blown story. What do we know:
- General manager Ed Wade acknowledged the phone call Friday to reporters, but admitted it doesn't mean the Astros will trade him. The snarkiest quote I've read in a while? "I'm going to put my tongue in my cheek and say that Roy's contract includes a no-trade clause, not a trade-me clause. There is no rule that allows a player in his contract status to demand a trade. Demand, request... it's all the same and duly noted."
- Garber is based out of Houston; the story was broken by Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzalez. One possible reason is that Oswalt tipped good friend Jake Peavy, who alerted Gonzalez.
- Oswalt's agent made the call after the Astros were shut out again in one of Oswalt's starts. Houston has been shut out six times this season, twice with Oswalt on the mound.
- Will Carroll is reporting that there are three teams already lined up for Oswalt's services, according to his agent. More are sure to follow after this report surfaces.
- Oswalt's value is a little higher now than when I posted this story about trade possibilities. He is owed 15 million dollars this season, with about 11 million of that still to be paid in 2010. He's owed another 16 million in 2011 and has a 16 million dollar option in 2012 (with a 2 million dollar buyout). If a team declines his option, he'll be worth about 12.6 million in trade value, based on this calculator. That's assuming WARs of 5.0 for 2010 and 4.5 for 2011. If the team picks up his option and we assume a WAR of 4.0 for 2012, his value goes up to 17.5 million. That's also assuming a 2.5 million dollar Type B draft pick kicker. That means the Astros don't have to pick up any of his contract to get back a Top 100 pitcher in return. (thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the data)
- Some of the teams that I referenced in my earlier trade column have changed. The ones dropping out? The Mets apparently have no money to add players. The Rays have more than enough pitching right now to beat the Yankees. The Mariners are a train-wreck and are looking for offense, not pitching. Teams added to the mix? The Nationals are an interesting contender, as Oswalt could be a good mentor for Strasberg (though he likely won't approve a trade there). Colorado has also expressed interest, but I can't see him willingly going to that park where it takes a very specific pitcher to succeed. Cincinnati might make a run at him, if they stay in contention. Detroit is also a possibility, if they intend to keep pace with the Twins.
I am disappointed that we might be saying goodbye to Roy Oswalt. He's been the best thing to watch about this season and one of my favorite players since he tore up Double-A with Round Rock back in 2000. I'd hate to see him go anywhere else, but I also know this team needs to be fixed. It's not going to happen unless the Astros get younger. They can't do that without getting a few prospects back in trade. I always followed Daryl Kile and Mike Hampton with fondness after they left Houston, and I fear I'll be saying the same thing about Oswalt in a few months.