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Don’t bet on Roy Oswalt.
A deal for Oswalt is not close, and there are reports the Cardinals are involved. One report said Oswalt prefers not to pitch for a team with a “large and aggressive” media contingent. Oh. My. Lord. Really?! If that is true, that pretty much makes him the opposite of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who I’m pretty sure eat nails for breakfast.
But Oswalt has the power because he has a complete no-trade clause. Say both teams make comprable deals and agree to pick up Oswalt’s $16 million option in 2012. Say the Astros come up to Oswalt and say, “Honestly, we have two great offers. You can go to St. Louis or you can go to Philadelphia. Your choice.”
Would he pick the Phillies?
The Phillies are seven behind the Braves in the NL East and four behind the Reds in sixth place in the NL wild card. They have lost six of seven since the break. The offense has been flat. They have looked lifeless on the field. Everybody in the clubhouse has said there is something missing from this year’s team. The Phillies simply are not making a strong case for themselves if other teams are in the hunt. And remember Oswalt has the power. He can steer the Astros toward St. Louis (or anybody) by simply telling them, “You might be close with Philly, but I want to play for the Cardinals. Make it happen.” Now Houston can come back and say, “Philly has made us a much better offer. It’s Philly or nowhere.” But Oswalt can always stay in Houston if he wants. He has that choice. But if the Cardinals are serious that makes things much more difficult for Philadelphia.
Another question to ask: how much would Oswalt or Dan Haren or Ben Sheets help the Phillies? If the offense doesn’t get on track, it won’t matter much. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino need to get on track ASAP.