Source: Oswalt trade looking unlikely
The Roy Oswalt sweepstakes could be headed for a stalemate.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, do not feel confident in their ability to land Oswalt, another source said the previous day.
"I'd be surprised if Oswalt goes (anywhere)," an AL executive said. "It sounds like both he and the Astros are difficult."
Oswalt has a full no-trade clause that effectively enables him to pick his next team. He has strongly indicated that his preference is the Cardinals.
If the Phillies and Astros reach a trade agreement, the Phillies could attempt to persuade Oswalt to waive his no-trade clause, perhaps by offering to guarantee his $16 million club option for 2012.
Oswalt, though, could employ the same strategy that Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay did last offseason, holding out for the team of his choice — in this case, the Cardinals.
At that point, if the Astros and Cardinals could not agree on players, then Oswalt simply would not be traded.
The Astros have believed for some time that it would be difficult to trade with the Cardinals. There isn't an obvious match on players, and the teams are in the same division, which is problematic.
Philadelphia is one of the more viable landing spots for Oswalt, sources say. The Dodgers have also shown interest, but bristled when the the Astros asked for major-league position players — most likely center fielder Matt Kemp or first baseman James Loney — in an Oswalt package. The Dodgers' limited payroll flexibility makes it questionable whether they can afford Oswalt's contract, particularly for the rest of this season.
Oswalt is earning $15 million this year and $16 million in 2011. The Astros hold a $16 million club option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout.
But Oswalt told FOXSports.com during spring training that his career would be "done" after next season.
"This year and next year will probably be it," he said then. "I still love the game. ... But when I get finished with my contract, if I'm not pitching at the level I'm pitching at now, then I'm not going to come back and hurt the team."
Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA in 20 starts this season. He surrendered six earned runs over five innings in his last outing.