Roy Oswalt agreed to waive his no-trade clause Thursday, clearing the way for the coveted ace to be traded from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies will send J.A. Happ, minor-league outfielder Anthony Gose and minor-league shortstop Jonathan Villar to the Astros in exchange for Oswalt. The Astros will trade Gose to the Blue Jays for infielder Brett Wallace.
The Astros also agreed to pay $11 million of the more than $23 remaining on Oswalt’s contract, which runs through 2011, so the Phillies will owe him about $12 million for a season plus two months. They also can exercise their end of a mutual option in an effort to keep Oswalt for 2012.
Oswalt is scheduled to make his debut for the Phillies on Friday night, starting at Washington.
FOXSports.com confirmed Wednesday that the two teams had agreed to a deal, which was first reported by Fox 26 in Houston, that only hinged on Oswalt’s approval.
"He’s such a competitor, his desire to get a chance to win right away made it an easier decision than it otherwise might have been," said Barry Meister, one of Oswalt’s agents.
Oswalt is a three-time All-Star and has finished in the top five of the National League Cy Young voting five times in 10 career seasons, all with the Astros. The two-time 20-game winner is having his worst season record-wise at 6-12. His 3.42 ERA was 18th in the National League at the start of Thursday’s play.
The Phillies, winners of the last two National League pennants, entered Thursday’s play 55-46 and 3.5 games out of first place in the NL East. They have won seven straight games.
”We’re trying to do what we can to get back to the World Series and win it,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Oswalt will pair with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels to form what figures to be one of baseball’s best starting pitching trios. Halladay — who came over in a December trade with the Blue Jays — is 12-8 and is second in the league with a 2.21 ERA. Hamels is 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA.
Some teams were reluctant to pursue Oswalt, who turns 33 on Aug. 29, in this trade market due to injury concerns. He has been on the disabled list three times since 2006 with back or hip issues, including each of the past two seasons.
Exactly one year ago, the Phillies made a similar deal two days before the trade deadline, nabbing prized left-hander Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians. The Phillies then traded Lee — whose contract will expire after the 2010 season — to the Mariners in December.
Happ has made one start after missing three months with an elbow injury. The 27-year-old lefty went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and finished runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year award last season.
”This is all I’ve ever known,” Happ said. ”I had an idea driving to the ballpark it might be the last time. It was emotional.”
Gose, 19, was the Phillies’ second-round pick in 2008 and their No. 6 prospect according to Baseball America. A player with great speed, he batted .263 with four home runs and 20 RBIs at High Single-A Clearwater, with 36 stolen bases in 63 attempts.
Villar, also 19, was signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic and is their No. 22 prospect according to Baseball America. A switch-hitter, he batted .272 with two home runs and 36 RBIs at Low Single-A Lakewood, with 38 stolen bases in 51 attempts.