It was reported late last week that Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt had asked for a trade to a contender. This is his 10th season in an Astros uniform and he hasn’t seen postseason play since 2005 when the Astros made it to the World Series before being swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox.
Since then the best the Astros have done was when they won 86 games in 2008. When another Roy, Roy Halladay was traded from the non-contending Toronto Blue Jays to the Philadelphia Phillies this past off season I am sure it gave Oswalt some ideas. Halladay unlike Oswalt has never seen postseason play and is hoping his first season with the Phillies will give him a taste of it. Oswalt along with fellow Astro Lance Berkman have said they would be open to a trade if it was a fit for both the team and player and the team received some prospects in return.
Now lets look at the Rangers trying to acquire Oswalt. They are another Texas team which is closer to his home in Mississippi. They are currently leading their division and are possible looking at making the playoff for the first time since 1999, which would give Michael Young his first taste of postseason baseball.
Roy Oswalt has clearly said he is looking to play for a contender and the Rangers are looking like they should be a contender this season. If you look at their track record before this season, it doesn’t seem such contender like. One aspect which could either help or hurt the Rangers possibility of Oswalt waiving his no-trade clause and coming to the Rangers is the pending ownership situation.
Everything is in place for the Ranger’s to be sold from Tom Hicks to Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg with Nolan Ryan being part of the ownership group. The only thing holding up the sale is that Hicks owes a lot of people a lot of money and the lenders have to approve the sale. Some of the lenders are thinking that Greenberg’s offer was not the most profitable offer on the table.
I don’t understand why anyone would sell something they own for a lower offer. The reasons maybe because Ryan is part of the ownership group, or that Hicks will retain some portion of the Rangers as a minority owner, otherwise the higher offer speculation doesn’t make sense. Oswalt could look at the uncertainty in the Rangers front office and opt not to come to the Rangers. Best case scenario is that the new ownership takes over and wows Oswalt essentially bringing him to Arlington.
As most of you know the heat in Texas in the summer months is pretty intense and the Rangers play in an outdoor field. The Astros currently play in Minutemaid park which has a retractable roof and can be closed when the heat outside is pretty intense.
Personally if I were a major league player, I would prefer to play in one of the new indoor parks such as Miller Park in Milwaukee or Minutemaid Park in order to avoid the unknown elements. I know that the Minnesota Twins did not enjoy playing in the Metrodome because it was artificial turf and it was dark with no lights.
Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay where the Rays play is somewhat like the Metrodome, although it doesn’t seem as dark as the Metrodome and the one game I attended their I was freezing. One last thing on the Metrodome though, if I were the Twins I wouldn’t want to play outdoor baseball in Minnesota in April or September/October.
The Rangers would love to have Oswalt at the top of the Rotation, although the price the Astros may request in return plus his remaining salary might be more than the Rangers front office can stomach. I honestly do not see Oswalt coming to the Rangers, or the Nationals for that matter (they were reported to have interest in him, although they are less of a contender than the Rangers). I believe the Rangers need to focus on their homegrown players and look to improve their game all around rather than putting money into one player, obviously that did not work with Alex Rodriguez.