With only a week left until the July 31 MLB trade deadline, two All-Star aces have emerged as the biggest prizes to be had: Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt.
But which pitcher is better?
Is it the the hard-throwing Astro, or the deceptive Diamondback?
Most casual fans might instantly say Oswalt due to the recent struggles of Haren in 2010; however, just last season, the Astros right-hander finished the year with an ERA well above 4.00.
Here is the breakdown.
Career ERA: 3.22
Career WHIP: 1.19
Postseason career ERA: 3.66 in seven starts and one relief appearance
Strikeout to walk ratio in 2010: 3.55
Opponents' batting average in 2010: .220
Under contract through: 2011 with $16 million club option for 2012
Oswalt is a bit of a stubborn fella.
He has openly stated that he would prefer to be sent to St. Louis over anybody else.
To go along with that demand, Oswalt is wanting a guarantee that his new team will pick up his contract option for 2012.
But if anyone is worth it, it might be him.
Since entering the league in 2001, Oswalt has started at least 30 games and won at least 14 games, seven times.
Only once has his ERA been over 4.00 for a season, while four times has his ERA been under 3.00.
Career ERA: 3.71
Career WHIP: 1.20
Postseason career ERA: 3.26 in two starts and five relief appearances
Strikeout to walk ratio in 2010: 4.86
Opponents' batting average in 2010: .285
Under contract through: 2012 with $15.5 million club option for 2013
Dan Haren is perplexing.
He is masterful with a lead in his back pocket, but far below-average without it.
One theory is that when his offense in not providing him with enough runs, Dan takes it upon himself to try to provide his own run support.
Although Haren is a great hitter for his position, it is inevitably a bad thing for him to worry so much about his at-bats rather than focusing on the task at hand on the mound.
Maybe a move back to the American League would be a good thing for Haren.
In his three full seasons with Oakland, the righty accumulated 43 wins.
Clubs are trading to win now, and Oswalt gives his future employer the best chance to do just that.
Haren has to figure out this season-long funk he is in right now before making any contending organization happy (he currently has a 4.60 ERA).
Oswalt, on the other hand, consistently performs at a high level despite a lack of support from his teammates.
One thing is true about both of these aces, whoever ends up getting them can expect a fuel to be lit under their fires.
These guys live for competition.