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Source: The Cardinals are the front runners for Roy Oswalt

Jul 21, 2010, 10:34 PM EDT

A major league source tells me that, contrary to what we’ve all been hearing for the past several days, the Phillies are not the front runners for Roy Oswalt.  The St. Louis Cardinals are.

In fact, the Astros have been talking with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak for several days now, and Oswalt is quite amenable to go to St. Louis if the teams can agree on what players will head back to Houston.  For their part, the Cardinals are convinced that matching Roy Oswalt up with Dave Duncan would take a guy who is already an ace and turn him back into the Cy Young candidate he was a few years ago. I’ll stop believing stuff like that when Dave Duncan actually fails for once. Which I wouldn’t bet on, frankly.

Of course, the big issue everyone has been talking about today has been Oswalt’s desire that his 2012 option be picked up.  That’s $16 million, and that ain’t hay.  My source tells me, however, that Oswalt would be willing to work with the Cardinals to make the option more palatable, possibly in terms of deferring some money.  The sides aren’t quite that far yet.

As for that option: my and everyone else’s sense on this as the news spread about it today was that wanting the option exercised would effectively scuttle any deal. If Oswalt is willing to be flexible on it, however, it wouldn’t be daunting.  And let’s not forget: Oswalt bargained hard for a no-trade clause, and one of the things he gave up to get the security that he’d stay in Houston was a guaranteed pay check in 2012. If he’s going to lose in-season home he’s come to love in Houston, it’s not unreasonable to expect that someone is going to have to pay for it. 

So that’s the state of play: the Cardinals are hot for Oswalt, and Oswalt likes the idea.  Now let’s sit back and see if these kids can work something out.

  1. gatorade_is_good - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    Yo I had dinner with your brother the other night, and he told me to check out your stuff, pretty cool

  2. gatorade_is_good - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Yo i had dinner with your brother the other night and he told me to check this out, pretty cool

  3. Ron Burgandy - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Wow! I’m excited and worried at the same time. Love the potential, but the prospects we may have to give up worry me. Hope this doesn’t turn into a Mark Mulder incident. Well I guess it isn’t even a done deal yet.

  4. David Coleman - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    Thanks for kicking me in the Carl Crawfords with this news, Craigory. (I assume that’s your full name)
    The more empirical thinker in me knows an Oswalt trade is necessary for this team, but the emotional fan still loves the player. And I really, really, really, ridiculously dislike the Cardinals. So, seeing one of my favorite players joining an arch-nemesis and possibly putting them in the playoffs would be horrible.

  5. Jason @ IIATMS - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Nice mention on the MLB Network last night, Craig.

  6. BigPhil - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    What prospects do the Cards have? Not familiar with their system.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Their top prospect is starter Shelby Miller. He was drafted last year and (I think) is in A-ball this season. It’s a thin system overall, however. Not sure yet who exactly the Astros are asking for, though there are some indications that they’ve at least discussed Miller. It’s still kind of fluid right now.

  8. Jonny5 - Jul 22, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    Seriously though? The Cards don’t really need pitching do they? How will they ever sign Sir Albert with even more salary to shell out? Would St. Louis shell out that much dough if they don’t need to? I don’t get it.

  9. Greg P - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Craig – I heard you just mentioned by Bob Picozzi doing the ESPN updates, but it didn’t give your name, just NBC Sports was attributed. 😦

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    That’s OK. I know who I am already.

  11. Paper Lions - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    If the Cards give up Miller AND take on the salary, they are idiots. Most scouts consider Miller to be a future ace. Plus, he can’t be traded yet because his contract is not a year old….though I suppose they could get around that with the old “player to be named later” ploy.
    The system is thin, but the Cardinals shouldn’t have to give up much if they are taking on the entire contract, and because Oswalt has the ability to control his destination, ….the Astros reward will be salary relief and some B or C prospects.

  12. CJ - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    This pisses me off.
    The Phillies made a mistake by not coughing up the dough to keep Cliff Lee for even just one year. If they compound that mistake by not getting a top notch pitcher like Roy Oswalt, it’s a disaster.
    If the Cardinals get him, that just compounds the Phillies problem. They just don’t have the pitching, or the bats, to match up in a 5 or 7 game series with St. Louis. If my Phillies want to stay relevant and win more NL pennants, they better make this deal. If he goes to St. Louis, who do you expect to beat in the playoffs? Carpenter? Wainwright? Oswalt? Not to mention Holliday and Pujols in the heart of their lineup. Halladay can’t pitch every game.
    To win the world series, you need 3 very good to great pitchers now. The Phillies had that and gave it away, and if they repeat that mistake now, and don’t rectify it during the offseason, I just might give up on them. I’ve been a huge Phillies fan all my life (cried myself to sleep in ’93 thanks to Joe Carter, and again in ’94 with the strike), but I just can’t take this ignorance anymore. They act like a small market team and they’re not. Pat Gillick had the “Carl Crawfords” to do what was needed to win, and was able to put management in their place for a couple years. Amaro is a puppet, just grateful to have his job and will say and do anything necessary to keep Mr. Montgomery happy. They think winning one world series and getting to another was enough to keep fans in the seats and now it doesn’t matter what they do, they’ll sell out every game. Fans will catch on soon enough, but I for one am already calling BS. And I’m sick of it.

  13. Jonny5 - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Craig, you were mentioned on MLB trade rumors. You’re a trade rumor source now. How does it feel to be big time like Rosenthal now??? ;>P

  14. jpl0219 - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Jonny: The Cardinals have Pujols locked up with a club option until 2012. Bringing Oswalt on board until 2012 would not be detrimental to the re-signing of Pujols.
    I would think a combination of Miller, Jay, and a Single A prospect should do the trick. Astros are not deep in the outfield, and with Craig hitting like he has in AAA, its only a matter of time before he starts hitting for the big club. You could also instead, include Craig. They also have Lynn, who had a great 2009 and despite his ERA, isnt doing too terribly bad this season, has 90 strikeouts in 111 IP, with 45 walks. Opp hitting .258 against him. You also have Tyler Greene, Who is a very solid SS.
    Many options available, all depends on how the Astros value what the Cardinals have.

  15. Utley's hair - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Hey, Jonny. Brad Lidge offered to give Oswalt a call to get him to come here? And you said he was useless.

  16. Jonny5 - Jul 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    LMAO!! ok, I’ll reserve my Worthless judgement of Lidges being worthless to see if his phone call works. I’m afraid he may blow it though……

  17. james t - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    Oswalt wants to play close to his home town and also wants a shot at thw world series. Dave Duncan and the cardinals would be perfect for him. He wants to go there. He will wave much of his contract to get there. He would take lagacy over money. You can’t buy a title. But it sure rocks to have them. Tony’s gonna leave. They can’t afford Albert. Might as well win one more.

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