- Roy Oswalt opts to eject from the plummeting rocketship:
Through his agent, Houston Astros righty Roy Oswalt has asked to be traded----ESPN Story.
General Manager Ed Wade was cryptic about whether or not Oswalt would be traded, but owner Drayton McLane is hands-on and if Oswalt's request went straight to the owner, it's hard to see the pitcher being an Astro past the All Star break.
Oswalt will be 33 in August. He's receiving $15 million this season; $16 million next season; and has a 2012 option worth $16 million with a $2 million buyout. With a full no-trade clause, he has the right to block any deal or demand that the option be exercised to okay the trade; since he desperately wants out of Houston and has often spoken of early retirement, it's quite possible (even likely) that he won't demand the option be automatically picked up if he agrees to be traded.
My mind doesn't work in legalities much of the time----just right and wrong. To my addled brain, because he's asked to be traded, it should negate the no-trade. It's only fair and it opens him up to any and all teams without preconditions from the player.
Let's take a look at the possible suitors for Oswalt, his gifted right arm and big contract.
New York Yankees
Would the Brian Cashman-led, penny-counting Yankees take on the contract of Roy Oswalt if it meant the difference between another championship or not? They'd have to give up something like Francisco Cervelli; a minor league pitcher; and probably would tell the Astros to take Javier Vazquez with the promise of the draft picks when he leaves as a free agent.
The Yankees aren't taking that contract.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox tried to get Oswalt a couple of years ago and I could absolutely see them telling the Astros that they'd take the contract and give up a decent hitting prospect like Lars Anderson; but the Astros would have to take the contract of...Daisuke Matsuzaka, whom the Red Sox would undoubtedly love to have out of their sight forever; but Matsuzaka has a full no-trade clause, is represented by Scott Boras and is going nowhere.
Forget it unless Theo Epstein gets creative. Don't put it past him.
Chicago White Sox
GM Kenny Williams wants to throw a stick of dynamite into that clubhouse; Oswalt is close with Jake Peavy; and maybe the Astros would take Gavin Floyd for Oswalt.
They've got the prospects; they need a starting pitcher; Oswalt's in Texas already; Nolan Ryan loves guys like Oswalt----he's mean and throws hard; but the money could be an issue.
The AL West is wide open and Billy Beane had cash to burn this past winter that he didn't spend when he was rejected by Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre; they could use Oswalt, have the prospects to send to the Astros and could insist that Eric Chavez be part of the deal to clear some of the money.
Don't discount the idea.
Los Angeles Angels
Without question, the Angels would love to be rid of Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is from Houston; is making $8 million this year; $12.5 next year; and has a $13.5 million option for 2012, with a $2.5 million buyout. McLane likes bringing in players from Houston as well.
They need pitching, but do they have the money? Do they have the remaining prospects? It could mean the difference between getting whacked in the playoffs or another World Series.
Will Ruben Amaro Jr. be willing to absorb the obvious question of why they traded The Stone Cold Killer, Cliff Lee if they were going to turn around and trade for Roy Oswalt at mid-season?
And what of Astros GM Ed Wade?
Unless the Phillies offer is too good to pass up, it's hard to see him willingly helping the team that fired him as their GM.
It's not out of the realm of possibility especially if McLane is heavily in on the deal.
If Oswalt was in the last year of his deal, the Marlins would positively and without fear explore it as they did with Roy Halladay last year; but they're not taking that contract.
New York Mets
Omar Minaya tried to get Oswalt (and came within an inch of succeeding) multiple times; but this is the last thing the Mets should do now if it's going to cost them Jenrry Mejia and Fernando Martinez.
Now, if the Astros were willing to take Luis Castillo or Oliver Perez along with Martinez? Then we can talk. But they shouldn't give up prospects when the aforementioned Stone Cold Killer is going to be a free agent at the end of the year and won't cost anything more than dollar signs.
Check in and see what the Astros want, but Mejia and Jon Niese are off the table.
Los Angeles Dodgers
This would be the litmus test of how badly the McCourts' divorce is hindering what GM Ned Colletti and manager Joe Torre want to do. The Dodgers have righted the ship (like I said they would) and the National League pennant is there for the taking; with Clayton Kershaw; Chad Billingsley; Hiroki Kuroda; and Oswalt, the Dodgers might win the World Series.
Follow the money.
They have the prospects and they need the arm. Could they take the money? Hard to say. They'll have a look at it and see.
It's hard to see them taking that contract, but they desperately need pitching; and Oswalt would be a neat replacement next season for Brandon Webb at the top of the rotation with Dan Haren. It's not a bad idea in the wide open NL.
That voice in my head sometimes sends me veering off in strange directions, but right now it's telling me to watch the Angels.
And I believe it.
- If Keith sees it, why doesn't HoJo?
During last night's Mets game, broadcaster Keith Hernandez (who knows more about hitting than 99% of people on the planet) could see that David Wright was uppercutting and behind the fastball.
So, if Hernandez diagnosed the problem and knows what to do to fix it, why can't Mets' hitting coach Howard Johnson?
I don't think it's a secret what Wright's doing. He's trying to hit for more power in Citi Field and was willing to sacrifice the increased strikeouts to do it. It hasn't worked because he's got one homer (from opening day and to the opposite field) at home; and his strikeouts haven't been worth the loss of contact. Hernandez played with HoJo and the Mets are at the point where stepping in the toes of coaches is the least of their problems.
As I said a week ago with the suggestion of having Tom Seaver work with Oliver Perez, it's all about the team; and if HoJo doesn't like Hernandez trying to help, he can leave.
On another note with the Mets, the John Maine contretemps have only just begun as the pitcher was placed on the disabled list against his will with shoulder weakness.
Frankly, I've seen and heard enough from Maine as well and am firmly behind manager Jerry Manuel, coach Dan Warthen and the club. He's been pitching horribly and enough's enough. If he's not part of the solution, he's part of the problem and if Maine doesn't like it, he can leave right along with HoJo.
I am altering the deal.
Pray I don't alter it any further.