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Roy Oswalt would accept trade to Nationals

HOUSTON -- Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt would be open to waiving his no-trade clause and pitching for the Nationals if they and the Astros agree on a deal, Oswalt said today.

Oswalt, who has requested a trade from the 17-34 Astros, said he would be willing to play "anywhere" he can contend. He cited the Nationals' offensive potential and the ensuing call-up of phenom Stephen Strasburg as reasons for his potential interest in playing in Washington.

"They've been playing well," Oswalt said. "They've got a good offensive club. I saw where they have Strasburg coming up. He should make an immediate impact, especially, because no one's seen him in the league, early. There's always a little adjustment period there."

Oswalt, 32, wants out of Houston because the franchise is languishing and he wants a chance at a championship while still in his prime. Watching from afar, Oswalt feels like the Nationals, 26-26 entering tonight's game, have a chance to contend for the playoffs.

"That's the thing about the East - I think it's kind of wide open over there," Oswalt said. "You got Philadelphia, and Atlanta is coming back and I know Washington is still playing well. It should be a good race. That's the big thing, is just trying to get in the playoffs. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen."

While Oswalt's acceptance of playing in Washington clears one hurdle, several other complications make Oswalt landing with the Nationals seem unlikely. Oswalt is owed $29 million through the remainder of his contract, which runs out after 2011. The Nationals would either have to add significant payroll or provide top prospects from a farm system they are trying to stock in return for the Astros eating some of the salary.

Oswalt has a 2.78 ERA while striking out 72 batters in 71 1/3 innings but is only 3-7 because of dismal run support. On Monday, the Nationals scored four runs off Oswalt before umpire Bill Hohn ejected him. (Major League Baseball on Tuesday sided with Oswalt, who was yelling, but not at Hohn.)

"He's a fiery competitor," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "That's probably the best attributes about him. Obviously, he's a guy who's got great stuff. He's a guy that's going to come right at you. He had really good stuff."

When asked if he would like to have Oswalt on the Nationals, Zimmerman said. "100 percent."

Manager Jim Riggleman, while not addressing the prospect of the Nationals acquiring him, also praised Oswalt and said he appears to have moved past recent back injuries.

"He looks like he's back to where he was a few years ago," Riggleman said. "He looks like he's pain-free and free and easy. I know the baseball world is going to be looking at him - you hear some things about he's willing to be traded and all that stuff. He's really throwing well. He's got the good breaking ball going. He's tough to deal with."

Oswalt, who is from Missouri Mississippi, has no familiarity with Washington aside from traveling with the Astros, always staying in a hotel near the Pentagon. He said he is close with Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn, whom he befriended while playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

According to a report last weekend on the Nationals official web site, the Nationals "expressed interest" in trading for Oswalt. He said he has not yet heard any proposals from the Astros.

"They haven't came to me with anybody," Oswalt said. "I don't know who's interested. They haven't really approached me about anybody yet. I'm open for whoever. Supposedly, I've two or three people called, but nothing more than phone calls."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 1, 2010; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  Pitching rotation  
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"The Nationals would either have to add significant payroll or provide top prospects from a farm system"

ehh, just give'em the money.

Posted by: chillsonic | June 1, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

OK, so he would be amenable to a trade. Question then becomes, who do we offer and does Houston Bite?
I can't see us emptying the entire cupboard for him, but ML two pitchers and a bat? Not sure which pitchers it would take and even if that would be enough.

Posted by: TimDz | June 1, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I say trade Mike Green for Oswalt. That should about do it.

Posted by: UFORomeo70 | June 1, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Can we trade Albert Haynesworth for Oswalt???

Posted by: boricuabopper | June 1, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo is too smart to waste money and prospects on a guy with a suspect attitude whose best years are behind him.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 1, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Mark somebody, cited by Kilgore, says the Nationals are a team with no offensive prowess.

2 days later, will that fool eat his words?

Its really nice to know that people inside baseball are more optimistic about the nats than people on the outside.

Posted by: jboogie1 | June 1, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

He is from Mississippi not Missouri

Posted by: jbshark_20 | June 1, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Remember a couple years ago, when people- I mean talking heads, bloggers, NOT players- were asking why anyone would want to play for DC? Like Aaron Crow?

Have things really changed that much in 2 years? If so, the Nats should let the Yankees, RedSox, Cubs, Phillies, and Mets waste Billions on players that wanted nothing to do with this club back then.

Save your money, Rizzo, and trade Guzman for a right-fielder or second baseman. If Zimmerman, Strasburg, and Detwiler are healthy and effective next year, they can trade Marquis for MORE prospects. To do the opposite for Oswalt would be a mistake.

Posted by: jboogie1 | June 1, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't see sacrificing youth for a 32-year old starter when we're all looking a year or two down the road anyway. Makes no sense. Let him go elsewhere, please.

Posted by: RIP-21 | June 1, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Oswalt would be a chunk of salary to swallow, even for the Lerners. If they want some buffer, or set a max-level on what they will take on, Rizzo has to decide what pieces he's willing to let go of. My gut tells me that the Astros would look for a combo of SP's-1B-MI-CA at the very least to allow some flexibility in how much salary the Astros would eat in return.

If the Astros assume 40%+ of Oswalt's currently salary, I'd guess that they'd ask for at least a four or five-man combination from this group: Jaime, Martis, McGeary, Meyers, Brad Peacock, Bloxom, Marrero, Espinosa, Lombardozzi, Souza, and Norris.

Posted by: BinM | June 1, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Take on the salary and bring him here, I'll be at the park on Friday, sure would be nice see our new pitcher take the mound.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 1, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I could see the Nationals offering Espinosa.

They clearly like Desmond at SS and Lombardozzi's hitting well at 2B in the minors.

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | June 1, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

If I wanted a championship to round out my career, I'm not sure that Washington would be high on my list of desirable locations. A reporter probably asked him about Washington and he gave a diplomatic answer.

Posted by: randysbailin | June 2, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

He still has pretty good stuff and knows how to pitch. His attitude has been good enough to stick with the Stros for his entire career without anybody kvetching much. I say it is worth Detwiler, Meyers and Nieto to have a rotation of Oswalt, Strasburg, Olsen, Lannan and Livan. We still have Atilano who comes in out of the pen this year. The 2010 rotation is pretty damn good and you still have Marquis, Zimmermann and JD Martin for 2011. The only problem would be the need to draft some pitchers to fill out the prospect list for BA.

Posted by: Juliasdad | June 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Those of you who pooh-pooh Roy Oswalt really don't know what you're talking about. We saw him at his worst (we were rocking him -- all pitchers get that sometimes -- and would have won that game going away had he NOT been ejected). He is a steady and fiery pitcher who could teach our guys a thing or two about competitiveness.

I LIKE a guy who gets mad at himself for giving up 3-run homers. It is not a time for being sanguine.

I hope we get him. We will then have a rotation of Strasburg, Livo, Olsen, Oswalt, and Lannan. I believe that might be a pennant-winner.

I expect Livo will run out of steam, and that right soon. But it will probably coincide with Wang coming off the DL. And then we might get Zimmermann back in August (I'm not holding my breath about seeing him at all this year, though, and rushing it would be uncharacteristically unwise of Rizzo and Kasten), which might be the end for John Lannan, who might make good trade bait down the road.

Livo might go to the bullpen. He's always started games quick, with a lot of early, easy outs.

If we don't give up too much I would just LOVE to see Roy Oswalt wearing the Curly W.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | June 2, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

the nationals have the payroll flexibility to pay the freight on oswalt's salary. they can use the money they didn't spend the last 3 years. if eating that whole contract will make the prospects surrendered reasonable, it's worthwhile.

if, as i suspect, houston has unrealistic expectations on getting both top prospects *and* salary relief, then thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: sec231 | June 2, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

If you can get him for cheap in regrads to the prospects heading to Houston you gotta do it. Imagine the rotation next season...


Throw in Wang, and the possibility of bringing back Olson or Livo and you have a very solid rotation.

Posted by: DMoney28 | June 2, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't give em jack!!!! we are in the process of building a perennial contender, don't throw away the future for the prospect of winning today!!!!

Give em cash but nothing else. Too many people would sell out the team just to get him. It should be little to nothing in my book... more on the nothing side!!

Posted by: ajb1094 | June 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

>Rizzo is too smart to waste money and prospects on a guy with a suspect attitude whose best years are behind him.

Posted by: SilverSpring8

You mean like Jason Marquis? Well, that was just money he wasted. Apparently he's also too smart to get a right fielder too.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Keep the prospects, give em the money. Could you imagine a 2011 rotation of Oswalt, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Wang & Olsen? Ow, ow, ow .....

Posted by: shanks1 | June 2, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

.... then have Marquis, Lannan & Livo fighting for a spot? Sweet.

Posted by: shanks1 | June 2, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I say we make the move this year, but perhaps not until July 1.

Reasons: See how SS does, are we able to move over .500 and stop this win/lose/win/lose mode of late. If we are making a move to be in position for the post season, you get RO.

Remember, SS will be sat down come early Sept, so going into a Sept playoff race, it would be nice to have Oswalt, Lannan, Wang, Marquis, Livo (with Olsen, Detwiler, and others possible if Wang or Marquis don't recoup). If we want a playoff team next year, then best to get these "kids" some experience competing in a race this year.

I'm not worried about making the playoffs this year, but being in position and trying helps for next year. And if the unexpected happens and the Nats pull off the WC, well, that much better. That simply sets up next year even better for a Pennant run.

Posted by: Rogueone | June 2, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It might not fit in 100% with "the Plan" (and I realize he's not a right fielder), but there are nevertheless strong baseball and business reasons to deviate and take a relatively rare opportunity for a team in our position to buy a proven star for this staff. I say pursue it, for cash (which the Lerners have, and would be rewarded for spending in such a deal when the moment's ripe, as it seems it might be becoming now), if he's completely healthy and happy with with the prospect of coming here. To quote author Flannery O'Connor's memorable phrase from a completely different context, "Everything that rises must converge." Throw in the impending draft of Harper, and we might be approaching a convergence point over the next couple of seasons that could prove positively cosmic for the history of our franchise's future fortunes in DC.

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | June 2, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oswalt is a bigtime competitor that we need, however management will not sign him for extended years. Plus we will probably overpay in prospects to get him. Not many people seem to care about Ross Detwiler, maybe I think to highly of him. Don't trade Guzman, the man seems ready to compete no matter the opposition, and his outward demeanor puts pressure on the opposing pitcher. He seems in charge during his at bats.

Posted by: DMcCall2 | June 2, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

We could use him. With two of our better young guns injured and Strasburg being a rookie, the younger end of the rotation probably will not play a factor in this year's playoff push. Right now we have Livan, Lannan, and hopefully recoveries by Olson and Wang, Oswalt could be the fifth starter we need to really make a push. This would also take pressure off using rookie Strasburg, and Marquis and Zimmerman, who we are too young to accelerate off the IR. With those three I can live with losing Atilano or Detwiler; probably throw in Chico for good measure. The question is which bat are we giving up, and who might try to outbid us?

Posted by: mcgratsp | June 2, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

"I say we make the move this year, but perhaps not until July 1."

Decent prediction. I agree. I assume that Mike Rizzo will wait until after the draft and then do a "state of the organization" analysis taking into account all factors, including those that are financial, and will make a decision then.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

It's about time Roy Oswalt gets out of Houston. He's wasting his career down there and his numbers would be much better if had played on a better team. He could really help some teams out.


Posted by: mkivo1 | June 7, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

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