In public, Roy Oswalt said geography didn't matter. In public, Roy Oswalt said that what mattered most was a chance to win.
Now, if the reports are true, Roy Oswalt can leave a team 17 games under .500 and head to one that has been to the World Series two years in a row, is set up for a strong stretch run and is built to win for a few years to come.
In other words, if Roy Oswalt wasn't lying then, what reason could he give for saying no now?
Money? A 2012 option, which amounts to more money? Yes, it's true that players negotiate no-trade clauses for a reason, and that they're entitled to use them to control their future. But if Oswalt turns down a trade to the Phillies, he's telling us that everything he said over the last two months simply wasn't true.
"Location doesn't matter," Oswalt said as he stood in front of his Yankee Stadium locker on June 11. "It's only for a year and a half."
All that mattered, he said then, was getting a chance to win.
Back then, an Oswalt trade seemed anywhere from problematic to unlikely, because of complications that partly involved the pitcher but centered more on Astros owner Drayton McLane.
McLane has killed Oswalt deals before, notably in 2007 when his baseball staff had worked out a three-way deal that would have sent Oswalt to the Mets, Lastings Milledge to the Orioles and Miguel Tejada to Houston.
Now, a source familiar with the talks said this morning, McLane has been negotiating directly with Phillies president David Montgomery. And while the source insisted there were still loose ends to be tied up, it's clear that McLane has done more than just sign off on the idea of dealing Oswalt to the Phillies.
It's possible that McLane never would have dealt Oswalt to the in-state Rangers, or to the arch-rival Cardinals. It's likely that Oswalt, a Mississippi native, much prefers the idea of pitching for the Cardinals, the Braves or possibly the Rangers.
But that's not really the issue here. That's not the issue now.
The question that matters most is this one: Was Roy Oswalt telling the truth or not?