Blog Entry

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Posted on: May 21, 2010 11:08 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2010 12:34 am

Each man has his own breaking point, and Astros ace Roy Oswalt has reached his.

Saddled with the worst run support in the National League, a frustrated Oswalt essentially told the Astros to take his no-trade clause and shove it.

So much for the Craig Biggio-Jeff Bagwell Be An Astro For Life program.

In theory, at least.

There are two important things to understand here:

1. Just because Oswalt has requested a trade doesn't mean he'll get one.

2. Whatever happens, owner Drayton McLane, working on running his own organization into the ground, likely will screw it up.

How can I be so sure about that last point?

The Astros, in the process of going toes up in 2006 following their surprise World Series appearance in '05, were close to trading Oswalt to Baltimore at the '06 July deadline in a deal that would have brought them what they really needed at the time: A bat.

Specifically, Miguel Tejada's bat.

This was back when Tejada was still playing 162 games a season, slugging 25 homers and knocking in 100 or more runs.

But McLane, with a personal affinity for Oswalt, frustrated the Orioles by pulling Oswalt off the table. The Astros wound up finishing second in the NL Central that summer (82-80) and have not finished higher than third in the division since.

That's just one example of McLane's mostly tone-deaf stewardship of the Astros, a run that's led to the bottoming-out of the club in 2010. I mean, really. Cecil Cooper as manager? Practically within minutes of Commissioner Bud Selig publicly suggesting it?

They've got the worst record in the NL. And their offense going into the weekend ranked last in, among other things, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, home runs, doubles and total bases.

Against that backdrop, it's easy to see why Oswalt, 32, is throwing up his hands.

Problem is, in no small part because McLane allowed his emotions sway decisions, the Astros waited too long to deal Oswalt.

To get that big package of prospects in return that McLane no doubt will require now, the Astros should have dealt him well before he turned 32 ... or before they signed him to the monstrous five-year, $73 million deal they awarded him.

Which McLane bestowed upon him roughly a month after Oswalt's feelings were bruised at the '06 deadline when word leaked that the Astros had included him in trade discussions.

Fact is, even though Oswalt has started the season with nine consecutive quality starts (he's 2-6 with a 2.66 ERA), he's no longer a $15 million pitcher (his 2010 salary). And next year, he's not going to be a $16 million pitcher.

All told, if a team takes on Oswalt, they'll be responsible for roughly $25 million through 2011 (including a $2 million buyout clause for 2012). Unless you've got deep pockets (hello, Mets), that's far too much dinero for many clubs that can really use starting pitching now.

Texas? Forget it. Creditors are nipping at the franchise's heels.

The Dodgers? Forget it. The McCourts are preparing to tee it up in Divorce Court later this summer.

The Cubs? Memo to Drayton: Kid shortstop Starlin Castro isn't going anywhere.

Oswalt is not going to win that World Series ring in Houston, but at least he has that bulldozer McLane gave him as a reward for that memorable '05 postseason run.

Oh, and one other thing: Houston, by the way, did end up acquiring Tejada a little more than a year later, in December, 2007.

Which means they acquired him too late ... and now they face trying to trade Oswalt at the wrong time as well.

It's a game of timing, friends. And the Astros' is miserable.


Since: May 21, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2010 10:52 pm

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Who can blame a quality pitcher like Oswalt for wanting to win? He has pitched for the Astros for many years and pitched well. He is one of the top ten pitchers in the National League. But he is playing on the team with the worst record in the National League. There is a lot of common sense about Oswalt's request. I certainly don't blame him in spite of the fact that I don't like free agency as a general rule (I also don't like a team having the full rights to a player's career with the player having no recourse, so I'm not just in the owner's court).

I remember seeing Oswalt pitch at nearby double A Round Rock (I live in Austin, Texas, and Round Rock is a northern suburb) before they became a triple A location for minor league. He was very good then, so what he's accomplished in his major league career is no surprise to me. He was on a fast track to the majors then, so I have a little bit of a personal interest in this guy. I always applaud when an athlete late in his career gets a chance to play on a championship team. Oswalt could turn a very good team into a World Series team. While I would like him to be traded to my team, this comment is about Oswalt. Give him a chance!

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2010 3:33 pm

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

billywagner 1, you might be the only person on the planet that would put tony manzella and starlin castro in the same sentence. starlin was a top 20 baseball america prospect to start the year and was only so low because they did not think he would be called up this year. now all he has done is hit all year long. he tore up AA ball and is .350 + since being called up to the bigs. the astros would be remarkably fortunate to get a guy like him. but like the article said, he ain't going anywhere. too bad the dodgers are a wreck because dee gordon would be a great alternative SS prospect.

Since: Dec 27, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2010 3:11 pm

manny ramirez for Oswalt

Not saying it will happen, but the Dodgers could really use a legitimate ace to take some pressure off young Kershaw and Billingsley, and they have a lot of bats in the lineup as it is. Manny might bring in some fans to Astros games and his deal is up at the end of the year.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2010 2:28 pm

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Oswalt for Javier Vasquez.  Vasquez is comfortable in the NL and Oswalt will be on a winning team with the Yankees.  AND, both salaries are Commensurate.  Win/Win!Cool

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: May 22, 2010 1:10 pm

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Look, Drayton McLane's big mistake is pretty evident to everyone who lives in Houston and pays attention to the Astros.  Lets face it, if you don't live in Houston, you have no reason to pay attention.

Jerry Hunsicker was the best GM in Astro history.  In the mid and late 90's, the Astros were consistently in the playoffs as well as having one of the top rated farm systems every year.  Drayton Mclane running Hunsicker out of town was every bit as bad, maybe even worse, than the harm Jerry Jones did with his drunken arrogant comments to Jimmy Johnson.

Close to the trade deadline, some team is going to need an ace for the playoff run.  Roy O is still an ace and the Astros will still get good value for him. 

I love you revisionist historians.  You will remember the huge comeback that the Astros made in September of 2006. They came very close to catching the Cards and making the playoffs that year. Roy O was a pretty big part of that.  Trading him would have been unforgivable to the fans of Houston and to the Astros players only one year removed from a World Series.  Especially for a flake like Tejada.

Since: May 22, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2010 11:52 am

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

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I just find it amazing that people are so busy ripping the owner a new one about all the mistakes he has made that they don't see that hiring Ed Wade may be his biggest one yet. You either have to have a team that can contend now or be building a team that will eventually contend—what has ED done to achieve either goal?


Instead of adding overpaid journeymen—Ed should have been cleaning house and rebuilding the aforementioned barren farm system. Instead he has allowed this team to deteriorate to the point where guys like Berkman and Oswalt want out. Can you blame them? Ed seems to—and he is only throwing gas on the fire with his amateur-ish attempts at damage control by announcing that the Astros don't have to trade their fed up stars and suggesting they can hold their breath till they turn blue.


Ed should be talking to these guys privately—encouraging them to keep their mouths shut while playing hard, so that (hopefully) he can try to get max value for them from some actual contenders at the trade deadline. Ed should offer to eat a portion of their contracts, if that enables him to get better prospects and he should also attempt to dump these middle of the road stiffs he seems to be stockpiling (for lower level prospects.) That would help keep the payroll down and at least he could say that his team is building for the future.


This is not rocket science—this is GM 101.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2010 10:57 am

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Really? So your point is that the Astros should have traded their ace Roy Oswalt for Miguel Tejada?   Tejada was still very good in 2006, but his power was dropping.  You do not trade a Cy Young candidate for that.    This was a team coming off of a World Series.   That would have left them with a half season of Roger Clemens olus Andy Pettitte and Brandon Backe. Wandy Rodriquez was not good at all then.  They would have finished in 3rd or 4th if they had traded Roy.  Think about it.

Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2010 9:47 am

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

It is finally coming to a head. I have been posting for the past three years on how ownership in Houston is ruining our sports teams. They are not held accountable and the general managers, scouting and those who acquire players have no idea of what is going on.

Example: Rockets - Big man syndrome for years. The giant chopstick continues to break something every year. They hold on to injury prone athletes they acquire and trade their good talrnt away. The management has no idea on what a defensive player is that can also score. Mc Grady for years was hurt multiple times and the ownership stayed with the guy.

Example: Astros - They have destroyed their farm system. They continue to give away young talent for the old quick fix players. They have been doing that for years.  They pull in Clemmons, Pettite, Tejada and so many others with well known steroid problems and cheating problems. Of course they were another quick fix and they both went back to the pharmecutical Yankee team after Drayton paid millions for a couple of years. They brought the juicing closer to home out of Deer Park. The ownership knew it and continued to let them play. Now the Astros have no where to turn. Star players who are on the protected list of the syeroid era have retired because of injury or age. A great third basemen won his MVP on steroids with the organization and the players, coaches and ownership were fully aware of his use and his cocaine addiction that eventually killed him. He even went public and credited his using got him the MVP. The organization again dropped the ball. Last of all, our farm teams are plain awful.  Look at their records and all the future stars we have given away. It has left us with an aging team and an awful pitching staff. The future is very bad for the Astros and it has been getting worse for years. The fans continue to let them destroy the team and show up. It is time for the bags on the heads in the stands. They are the worst team in MLB by far. Even worse than Pittsburg's demise now.

Example: Texans - they save face with New England only playing Brady and their stars here or there to preserve their first winning season. They draft an injury prone well known steroid user from one of the most corrupt programs in college football. He had trouble there with the issue and nicknamed "pin cushing". He performs and gets the rookie of the year and the team lets him play after testing positive in September. Te same drug Manny R. was suspended 50 games for after being allowed to play in the playoffs before being tested and caught on the drug to bring your body down off of steroids. Is it a California thing?

Up until this year the Texans did not address the running back need inside the 20. The ownership continues to take long shots in the draft but finally pulled a quality back for goal line situations in Tate out of Auburn. We also know who they lost to Atlanta off a really bad defense. Cushing will test positive many more times and fool the tests many more times. He will eventually go down with a big injury being his body has been on overdrive for years. He defiitely has added the one thing they needed to make the playoffs and it comes from a needle. The team and ownership were fully aware of his use at USC before drafting him. He helped them on a team loaded with draft picks. Brady plays every down and if Ty Law and others would have played at all, Houston finishes again 8 and 8 as they should have. The bad part is the Texans and the fans do not realize it took the drugs and a pro bowl performance season by Schawb to save the season. If they do not have the same kind of year the team is where they started six years ago again!!!

In all the cases above the teams are looking for the quick fix. They are continuing to run their stars into the ground and getting them little support. They love injury plagued players from China or Tracy Mc Grady. They love players who are known for juicing. They also let players finish their careers elsewhere becoming much better players for other teams, No development or strong coaching. just a lot of ownership control by people who just do not have any idea. Drayton was at least honest and said he knew nothing about baseball. It has showed along with all the other teams. At least the Texans were lucky the old Oilers were terrible this year to help out.

Too many powerful people calling the shots in this town who have really bad advisors or little team dvelopment knowledge and sports insight. They are killing the stars and the future of these teams for years to come.

Since: May 17, 2009
Posted on: May 22, 2010 7:29 am

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Scott Miller, well said.

I have a couple of points, however.

#1. If a player such as Roy Oswalt wants to be traded, WHY on earth do you want to keep him? He is obviously unhappy and lets face it, the guy won't be happy unless the team scores 3 runs when he's piching so he can get a win. As a GM, McLane needs to understand that you do not need unhappy players, check that, unhappy LEADERS in your clubhouse. Lance Berkman said he would be willing to wave HIS no trade clause as well??? When the Astros only two marketable players want out, someone in the organization is doing something wrong.

#2. The Astros may not get a boat load of young talet for Oswalt anymore, but they can get SOME prospects. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees would BOTH take this guy in a heartbeat. He only has two years left on his contract and both teams can afford him, even at $16 million next year. Josh Becket is making $17 million, is injury prone, is on the D.L. as we speak, and his ERA is north of 7.00. I'll take Oswalt and his 2.66 ERA for $16 million. Fenway Park is small, but Minute Maid Park is smaller.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2010 2:55 am

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

He would look great in a Yankee uni they can have Vasquez

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