For Houston Astros fans, and management alike, the only question on their minds is this: Will Roy Oswalt still be with the team come the trade deadline on July 31?
And if you ask Oswalt, he’ll tell you the blunt truth: he has no idea.
“You think about it, for sure, not really knowing where you’re going to be in the next few days,” Oswalt told MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart last week. “You have to wait until that decision is made and they approach you with something. It would be different for sure, to put on a different uniform. I won’t know that feeling until it happens. You never know. I may be here until Oct. 4.”
The latest reports indicate a strong possibility of Oswalt landing with the Philadelphia Phillies, but only time will tell.
And time is ticking away.
Another possibility for Oswalt's destination, according to numerous sources, is the Texas Rangers. If Texas lands the Wizard, watch out American League—the Rangers are World Series bound.
But until a deal is set in stone, it’s all hearsay.
“The money part, I can work out with anybody,” Oswalt said. "We can work on doing different things to restructure whatever they want to do. The biggest thing is making it work for both of us.”
That means Houston’s franchise as well.
“I’m going to find a way to get it done if it works for both of us,” Oswalt said. “I’m not going to go somewhere that’s bad for me. I don’t want to do anything that puts the Astros in a bad situation.”
From rumors involving the Phillies, to the Rangers, to the St. Louis Cardinals (who now appear to be out of contention for Houston’s ace), Oswalt is just waiting the whole thing out—along with management and fans.
“I think my biggest focus is still pitching and this will work itself out,” Oswalt said. “I don’t think about this when I’m away from the field. I’m trying to focus on winning the [next] game.”
Meanwhile, Astros owner Drayton McLane told the media on Wednesday, July 28, that no deal is certain regarding Oswalt at this time.
“There have been lots of discussions,” McLane said. “There have been lots of ideas exchanged between teams, but nothing’s imminent.”
And until the Oswalt deal is signed and delivered, it’s all a matter of guessing.
On the other hand, the Astros first baseman and longtime slugger Lance Berkman has no intention of leaving.
At least that’s the plan.
“This is my home and I like it here,” Berkman said. “We’ve struggled, but we’ve had a lot of good years, and this organization has done a lot of good things for me, and I don’t want to jump ship when things turn south.
“I’d like to help us win here, but obviously I’m open to any suggestions. If a team calls and wants to rent my services for a couple of months, I’d certainly listen.”
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com