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Some chatter while we wait for Roy Oswalt's decision

Jul 29, 2010, 8:44 AM EDT

As Drew noted last night, there’s a deal in place between the Phillies and the Astros for Roy Oswalt.  Everyone is now waiting for Oswalt’s decision on his no trade clause.  I have some thoughts on that (see below) but in the meantime, let’s speculate about what the deal may look like, assuming it goes through.

The rumor that has been going around is that the Phillies would get some money along with Oswalt — the figure I saw was $8 million — and that in exchange they’d send back J.A. Happ and prospects Matt Rizzotti and Vance Worley.  We all know Happ, so let’s look at the rumored prospects.

Rizzotti is a 1B/DH who has been raking in high-A and AA this year, with a combined line of .362/.443/.595 (and the numbers are actually better at AA than A). The problem with him, though is that he turns 25 after this season which makes him a bit old for the leagues he’s in. While it’s possible that he’s a late bloomer who made a big leap forward this year, the guy doesn’t really project to a big time major league talent. He could probably start for a bad team like Houston, though.

Worley is a 22 year-old starter who is 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 20 starts, all but one of which have come at AA (he was recently promoted to Lehigh Valley).  His strikeout numbers don’t suggest he’s an overpowering pitcher — he has a 6.6 K/9 in his minor league career — but he’s decent enough. My guess is that he projects as a swingman/4th-5th starter-type.

Overwhelming? Nah. But given how much money Oswalt is owed, it would be an OK haul I guess. And of course the deal could involve different dudes. More than anything, though, it probably speaks volumes about how light St. Louis’ farm system is that they couldn’t find some mid-level prospects to fill out a deal like this to make it happen.

As for Oswalt’s decision: everything I had been hearing last week was that he didn’t want to go to Philly due to some combination of him (a) not feeling comfortable with the organization; (b) not feeling that they had as good a chance to win as St. Louis; and (c) simply liking St. Louis.  In the last week, however, the Phillies have been on a roll and the Cardinals have appeared to not be a realistic match.

We all have desires in this world, but sometimes we have to adjust them when the facts on the ground make them unreasonable.  Given that two of the three things that had been turning Oswalt off to the Phillies are no longer operative, he may just say “screw it” and go where he has a chance to win something this year.

  1. Jonny5 - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Craig, I think the whole “I don’t want to go to the east coast thing” Had more to do with not wanting to live there than the teams. And wanting to be in St. Louis. Would he reject an offer from the NYY? I bet not. The Phills? I bet not. Sure he liked ST louis better and was trying to express it without outright saying “I want to be a cardinal”. Pitch well Roy and the fans here will love you more than their own mothers. He’ll get along here just fine. I guess this is Amaro hanging out the white flag on the whole Lee deal and saying, “whoops guys, i screwed up, but I’m fixing it.” Now i’m hearing Bautista might be the next target??? What? Philadelphia has scouted eight of the last nine Blue Jays games. Mabe it’s for bullpen, but I hear Bautista could be a target next for these guys. Wow! I don’t see it happening but damn, doesn’t Amaro shoot for the stars or what? I see a big price tag on that deal.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Jonny — As I said above, he may very well change his mind on it but I was told by someone in a position to know that, at least as of last week, it wasn’t merely a matter of preferring St. Louis. He was really turned off on Philly specifically for a handful of reasons.
    Not saying it was rational or anything, but that’s where he was.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    If this deal goes through, I seriously hope that Oswalt isn’t a thin-skinned wimp as he seems when he says he isn’t comfortable with playing in Philly. I hope he is more like Doc, who has thrived here. You put together Doc/Oswalt/Hamels in a series and that’s as good as it gets. Would Doc/Lee/Hamels be better….trying….not….to…go….there….UGH. OK, if they get Oswalt, and Brown keeps raking, then it may help to get over the Lee trade.
    I heard this morning that they are looking at Bautista as well from the Jays. I’m already wondering what is going to happen when Shane comes back and Domo is hitting .350 with 14 runs and 11 RBI…what the Outfield and Batting Order going to look like. If they trade for Bautista, what happens when Utley comes back? Ibanez/Shane/Bautista on bench? Wow.

  4. indy_ralph - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Craig, I really doubt that it’s the middling prospects the Cards couldn’t come up with. It’s the MLB-ready pitcher. The Astros probably wanted a package centered around either a) a high-upside, relatively far away player (Shelby Miller) or b) a lower upside by higher probability guy like Happ. The Cardinals obviously didn’t want to do a), and they don’t really have anybody who qualifies as b). I think that is the part the Cardinals were missing. Every organization has middling prospects.

  5. Benny Blanco - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    Optimism is a wonderful drug.

  6. BC - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    I thought the deal with Oswalt was that he preferred St. Louis because it’s closer to his home (northern Mississippi if I recall).
    I mean, the guy’s pitched in the World Series, so it’s not like he can’t handle the pressure. And this year is the first losing season he stands to have, and yet his ERA and WHIP are really really good. I can’t see why he wouldn’t go.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Pacino should have killed you when he had the chance…

  8. Jonny5 - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    I didn’t think St. Louis was a good match from the start simply because the Phillies are far more desperate than they are for pitching. Of course they’d shell out more, which is what Houston is all about. Getting more. Plus St. Louis in their division, and it seems the Phillies and Houston really enjoy a relationship where they like to trade with eachother.The reasons for not wanting to come to Philly I heard just seemed lame to me,as you said maybe unwarranted. I’m still out on getting this guy. I would have preferred a lower key pitcher and much help in the pen, and another infielder. If this hampers other needs the team has moving forward, this could be a total bust. You know, putting all your cookies in one jar, then have that jar break on you…

  9. Old Gator - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Wow, Roy Oswalt might finally be going someplace. I’m so excited I could…could…zzzzzzzzzzz

  10. BC - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    They don’t need Bautista. Wait for Shane to come back, and then staple Ibanez to the bench unless someone is stupid enough to trade for him.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    I agree…it was just a rumor out there. I don’t think they need Bautista either. There’s already going to be a problem when Shane gets back and they have 4 starting outfielders….I don’t see them being able to sit Brown down. If they added Bautista, he would work great until Utley comes back in September…then what? No room in the OF, unless they sit Shane and Ibanez. But that lineup would be pretty good…
    Rollins
    Polanco
    Utley
    Howard
    Werth
    Bautista
    Brown
    Ruiz

  12. CJ - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    If we’er going to deal with Toronto after landing Oswalt, one of two things would have to happen:
    If we get Bautista, that means we’re flipping Werth for prospects, or
    We strengthed the bullpen and maybe pick up Buck as a better hitting catcher.
    I seriously doubt we’ll have an outfield of Victorino, Ibanez, Werth, Brown, and Bautista come Sunday.

  13. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I doubt it too CJ…however, remember we are dealing with Ruben Amaro Jr here. In my mind, no matter what happens, he is a brutal GM. Luckily for him, guys like MIke Arbuckle and Pat Gillick left the Minor League system well-stocked so he can try to make up for his brutal Cliff Lee trade by getting Oswalt from the Astros. I wonder how many Ruben apologists will see the insanity in trading Cliff Lee and his $8 million salary for 3 middling prospects 6 months prior to trading J.A. Happ and different prospects for Roy Oswalt and his $21 million salary?

  14. BigPhil - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Anything in particular about why he was turned off by the Phillies/Philly? The Phillies are a good destination, but Philly definitely has drawbacks (as would any city).
    I can certainly appreciate one’s personal preferences for not wanting to move for a job (making millions doesn’t/shouldn’t factor into the equation since he’s going to make millions whether he moves or not, so you can’t use the “he’s making millions, he shouldn’t care where he pitches/lives!” argument).
    I wonder if his deep reluctance matters to the Phillies.

  15. BC - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    I’m right with you. I’m so excited that I can’t even complete a

  16. evolutionary - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    On the radio this morning, Cataldi was saying that Brett Myers was in Oswalt’s ear about not coming to Philly b/c of Rich Dubee the pitching coach. Take that for what it’s worth. Furthermore, Lee has apparently been telling people that he never wanted to leave Philly (which has been reported before) and will give them the first chance to sign him this offseason. Two interesting nuggets, although Cataldi is not the best source.

  17. CJ - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    But he’s Stanford educated! Every move he makes is perfectly logical and well thought out! Come on, he knew when he traded away Cliff Lee for three ok at best prospects, he’d turn back around and trade better prospects for the more expensive and not quite as good Roy Oswalt, just so he could sleep at night knowing he’ll be around for 3 years instead of Lee’s just one.
    At least, that’s what he’ll tell you at tomorrow’s press conference.

  18. Jonny5 - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I doubt it too since Bautista would be set to play third base. I also doubt they will get Bautista anyway. He’ll draw a huge price tag since other contenders want him. I think they need bullpen help more than anything after a starter is added. And don’t count out Ibanez being traded, he’s not good as pinch hitter and the Phills still would save money by swapping him with Brown and eating most of Raul’s contract. Raul’s been hitting well and plenty of teams are looking for guys who can hit. I’d make him become a bargain (by eating a chunk of his salary) if I were the Phills and trade him. Remember Brown is so cheap of a salary it will pay to eat someones salary to bring him up if he makes the grade. Which it appears he does.

  19. BigPhil - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Interesting, evolutionary. I guess that makes some sense. In addition to disgruntled Brett Myers, nearly half the Astors team is ex-Phillies cast offs (or “Wade’s guys,” if you want to put it nicely). Makes sense they’d have some negative things to say about the Phillies. But I don’t think that Dubee would factor into it much. Maybe he’s more important for a young guy, but I’d have to think an established and successful vet like Oswalt wouldn’t have to deal with Dubee much.
    Fingers crossed that Lee comes back to the Phillies. But I highly doubt it.

  20. Ray Rothfeldt - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    10:1 says Oswalt asks the Phillies to guarantee his option. And Ruben Amaro, genius that he is, does so. Because, after all, it’s much better to have an aging right hander for 3x as much dough as a young lefty entering the prime of his career. (Not to mention losing Happ!)

  21. CJ - Jul 29, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    That’s what that hi qualitee Ivie Leeeg edjumakshun gits u my frend.

  22. Benny Blanco - Jul 29, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Clever

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