Smilin' Ken Rosenthal knows Roy Halladay, and Oswalt is no Roy Halladay. Rosenthal, God bless him, takes Roy to the woodshed over his little option routine:
Some rival executives find it galling that the pitcher now seems to be trying to orchestrate every term of his departure. Players either negotiate their no-trade rights or earn them through service time; Oswalt should not simply give his away. But if his priority is to get out, then he should be flexible, about both his contract and his next club...
...If Oswalt only wants to go to the Cardinals and the teams cannot reach agreement on a trade, the Astros will simply keep him rather than make an undesirable deal.
Such an outcome is quite possible; the Astros are not enamored with the Cardinals’ prospects, according to a source with close knowledge of the talks. Meanwhile, Oswalt is sending mixed signals about his other preferred clubs; his list is said to be “a moving target...”
...If Roy O wants to win, it’s not the responsibility only of others to make it happen. It’s his responsibility, too.
Smilin' Ken doesn't spare Drayton, either:
McLane does not truly understand that his franchise needs to start over. If he did, he would order his general manager, Ed Wade, to shop every one of the Astros’ veteran pieces.
Instead, the Astros are signaling that they would need to be “overwhelmed” to trade their second-best starting pitcher, right-hander Brett Myers. And they evidently are resigned to being stuck with first baseman Lance Berkman and left fielder Carlos Lee, both of whom have full no-trade clauses...
...One interested GM mused Friday that it might be impossible in to satisfy both Wade on players and McLane on dollars in an Oswalt trade.
Well done, Smilin' Ken, well done.
UPDATE: Craig Calcaterra responds:
I see what Rosenthal is saying -- and I'd agree with him wholeheartedly if Oswalt was out there complaining about the Astros not being able to find a trade partner or something -- but I'll note that no one ever expects teams to simply surrender the leverage for which they have bargained. And I'll also ask: in what "less extravagant way" could a new team compensate Oswalt for dropping his no-trade rights? The minute he drops them, he has zero leverage to demand anything.
We certainly shouldn't hear Oswalt to complain if the Astros can't trade him given what he's asking for, but in a world where teams can control where players work for the first six to twelve years of their career before the player even gets a bit of say in the matter, I have no problem with Oswalt using whatever means are at his disposal to get what he wants for the final handful of years of his career.