Oswalt-to-Phillies reportedly in place

The Astros have a deal in place to trade right-hander Roy Oswalt to the Phillies if the ace pitcher agrees to waive his no-trade clause, Houston television station KRIV reported late Wednesday.

The report, citing league sources, said the Astros have approached Oswalt about the trade and are awaiting his response. The story also says the teams have agreed upon the amount of money the Astros will absorb to help offset some of Oswalt’s contract, as well as the players going to Houston.

The Astros have scouted Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ’s most recent starts, and he likely would be included in the deal.

Astros general manager Ed Wade also personally scouted Philadelphia’s Class A Lakewood affiliate earlier this month. First baseman Jonathan Singleton, an eighth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, could be included in the deal. Singleton, 18, is hitting .319 with 12 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .962 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 248 at-bats.

Oswalt is owed about $5 million more this year and is due to make $16 million next season in the last year of his contract, but there’s a club option for 2012 that would pay him another $16 million. He said last week the option wouldn’t be an issue when it came to approving a trade.
When contacted late Wednesday, Wade declined comment on trade discussions, and Oswalt could not be reached for comment.

The Astros have been fielding calls about Oswalt since he informed the team in May he wanted to be traded to a contender. The Dodgers and Cardinals were among the teams interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star, along with the Phillies.

Astros owner Drayton McLane told MLB.com earlier on Wednesday the club has been involved in a lot of discussions about Oswalt.

Oswalt said Wednesday he would like to have some time to decide prior to Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline if he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause to accommodate any deals the Astros put on the table. He said before Houston’s 8-1 win over the Cubs that he has yet to be approached by the club about any proposals.

“I’m hoping it’s not going to be dropped on me an hour before the Deadline,” he said. “Give me a little bit of time to think about.”

Oswalt is scheduled to pitch Friday in an attempt to tie the club’s all-time win record, a start that appears more and more unlikely to happen. The game will come will come less than 24 hours before the Deadline.

“You do need a little bit of time,” Oswalt said. “I don’t want it to be two hours before the Deadline and have to make a quick decision. I would rather have a little bit of time to think about it.”

The two-time defending National League champion Phillies are 54-46 and trail the Braves by 3 1/2 in the NL East. They are looking to bolster a pitching staff that’s ranked seventh in the NL with a 3.99 ERA, and adding Oswalt to the top of a rotation that includes Roy Halladay would certainly accomplish that.

Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA, but has received some of the worst run support in the league.

– Brian McTaggart

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