Do you want the Astros situation summed up in 150 words or less? Let the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz help you out:
The imposing financial complications aside, here's another big problem in the Cardinals' efforts to obtain Oswalt from the Houston Astros: they're not exactly dealing with the smartest people in the room. Owner Drayton McLane remains in a state of denial, refusing to accept the obvious need to rebuid through drafting and player development. The Astros have old, declining players who make too much money. GM Ed Wade has signed too many marginal talent to silly free-agent deals. It adds up to a 63-98 record since last July 25. The Astros need to replenish their farm system but keep putting it off. This week I've read reports of the Astros wanted to be "overwhelmed" by an offer before agreeing to deal starting pitcher Brett Myers. This is hysterical. Myers is a free agent at the end of the season. He is not a franchise-piece player. He's a solid rotation guy. Why wouldn't the Astros invest in the future by accepting a couple of decent prospects for him? It's nonsense. But this is what Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is dealing with -- people that do not even understand their own team. Good luck.
I agree with a lot of this. But I disagree with a couple of things.
1. The knock on drafting and player development. Wade's (meaning Bobby Heck's) drafts over the last three years have been solid. The international free-agent signings are a source of optimism. When most media types not from Houston look at the Astros' system, it seems as though they stop at Triple-A.
2. The Cardinals have excess prospects at the Astros' least needy position. So I'm okay with the Astros balking (pun intended) at the Cardinals offer - and it's not as though they would accept Jay, Ryan, and Miller for Myers, either.
Still, that's a pretty scathing - and moderately accurate - review of the 2004-2007 Astros.