|Oswalt Trade Destinations|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on June 04, 2010
In the last piece we discussed possible destinations for Astros slugger Lance Berkman who requested a trade from the team and today we'll take a look at just where pitcher Roy Oswalt could land if the Astros honored his request for a trade too.Â Oswalt, ostensibly an ace pitcher, is having a career type year so far, but doesn't really rank among the elite pitchers in the game anymore.Â While there are several franchises who would use him as a No. 1 pitcher, he might not opt to waive his no trade clause to go to one of them.
In any case, let's consider the most likely suspects to get involved in a deal for the 31 year old right-hander.
In the National League, suitors who could use him include the Cardinals, Reds, Mets, Nationals, Braves, Dodgers and the Phillies.Â The offer would probably have to be an overwhelming one for the Astros to trade him within the division, but considering that the Astros look to be years from competing and that the now affordable Oswalt (making $15 million this year and $16 million next) will probably end up moving via free agency after 2011, might make the team consider dealing to the Cardinals or Reds.
If it came down to one of those two teams it might well be a move that determines which of them win the division, something the Reds would love to do.Â However for the Reds budgetary constraints, as will having to part with top prospects when they finally seem to be getting somewhere with their own homegrown talent, and the huge upside there, could prevent them from even making an offer and instead seeing what Edinson Volquez can bring to the table in the second half.
The Cards on the other hand can afford to pay Oswalt, and are really built to make a run for the whole thing.Â The addition of Oswalt would give a huge boost to the rotation and make them one of the deepest starting staffs in the NL as well as matching them up better against possible AL opponents if they were to make it to the Series. However, their pitching staff has been quite strong this season, so it may make more sense to upgrade elsewhere.
That's almost the same logic it would take for Philadelphia to make a play at Oswalt, as it would boost a rotation which has been good, but not dominant, and has even struggled at times.Â The Phillies came into the season as the heavy favorite to win the NL. Â Oswalt would cement that and improve their odds against any AL opponent.
For Oswalt the Dodgers might well be a perfect fit too.Â Pitching in a favorable ballpark at the head of a young talented rotation, he could easily be the player to put the Dodgers over the top.Â The problem for the Dodgers is money and the messy custody hearing going on over the ownership of the team.Â While it is theoretically possible the Dodgers could come up with the money, they have to be considered long shots at this point.
Of course not as much of a longshot as the Mets or Nationals would seem to have at landing the ace.Â For either of those teams landing him would require a long stretch of the imagination -- especially as the Mets farm system is pretty much barren and the Nationals would have to be deluding themselves into believing that they are really contenders at this point, and trading away up and comers that the team desperately needs for years to come.Â It's even more unlikely that Oswalt would agree to be traded to either of those organizations since he's clearly seeking a team he believes will contend right now.
That leaves the Braves, the same team who made a big play for Mark Teixeira (illustrating that they have money and are willing to spend it) just a couple of years back and have been rebuilding for the last several years.Â They are definite Wild Card contenders, and might even be better than that.Â It's more likely they'll be chasing a bat -- probably Adrian Gonzalez -- at the deadline, but Oswalt would be huge boost to their pitching staff, and the team is currently fourth in runs scored in the NL.
In the junior circuit the Yankees may still be players if Javier Vazquez fails to right his ship, but after several recent solid starts it's become far less likely that they'll make a play for Oswalt.
That's probably not the case in Boston, where the Red Sox starters have been struggling and ace Josh Beckett really seems to unable to find his stuff.Â They certainly have the talent in their farm system to make a deal or two and if they are still in the mix by the end of the month could easily be a frontrunner to make a deal with Houston.
The other forerunner here is probably Detroit.Â Now that they've shipped Dontrelle Willis out of town, they'll need some pitching help to vie with the Twins for the division title (actually they needed the help even more when they had Dontrelle.Â The trade was an addition by subtraction kind of move).Â Oswalt would be a perfect fit and the Tigers have both prospects to trade and the financial means to pay Oswalt as they'll be clearing a lot of money from the books at season's end.
Out west the only real contender for his services would seem to be the Angels who've certainly had a myriad of pitching woes thus far and certainly seem to have felt to loss of John Lackey in the offseason.Â They, and Southern California, might be a more attractive option than Detroit too when it comes to getting Oswalt to agree to waive his no trade clause.
That's not to say that the Rangers aren't interested too, but since the organization has filed for bankruptcy protection adding Oswalt's salary is probably an impossibility.Â However if Houston were to eat much of it, and the Rangers give up some of their top young prospects a deal could get done.