Cheap Seats

Oswalt does an about face?

Contrary to earlier reports, a story on the Houston Chronicle's website Monday evening says that Roy Oswalt would:

1) Accept a trade to an east coast team including the Phillies

2) Require any team that traded for him agree to pick up his 2012 option before he would sign off on the deal.

This is a dramatic change and I wonder if it means that Oswalt is convinced there is no hope of working something out between the Astros and the Cardinals.

Oswalt previously said that he would not require the $16-million 2012 option be picked up if he could get himself traded to St. Louis. He also said he would be willing to rework his contract to make it more palatable to the Cardinals. It's hard to imagine him ending up in the Mound City unless Oswalt stood his ground and refused a trade anywhere else AND worked with the Birds in the money department.

The Cardinals are reluctant to give up a bounty of prospects for Oswalt while picking up most -- if not all -- of his remaining contract. And it's hard to blame them. It's usually one or the other. If the Birds give Houston a big helping of payroll relief, they shouldn't have to give the Astros top prospects, too.

Unfortunately, the Redbirds haven't been able to shake the Reds in the National League Central because -- at least in part -- of injuries to 40 percent of the starting rotation. Brad Penny, the club's third starter, looks increasingly like he might be out for the season. Kyle Lohse looks like he could start a rehab assignment by the end of this week. But who knows what he'll be able to contribute after a long layoff, not to mention the fact that he is coming back from an unusual injury, so it's hard to say how his arm will respond to being back in action.

It's a big risk for the Cardinals not to do anything to improve the pitching situation. But right now their best bet might be Cleveland's Jake Westbrook. Ugh.

Not only is Westbrook not nearly as appealing as Oswalt or Dan Haren, but the Indians reportedly have unrealistic demands in trade.