Amid NY rumors, Oswalt defers to GM
Astros' ace leaves potential trade in hands of front office
NEW YORK -- Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt barely had a chance to change out of his street clothes upon his arrival at Yankee Stadium on Friday afternoon when he was besieged by reporters asking about his interest in wearing pinstripes.
Oswalt, who last month acknowledged he had asked the Astros to trade him to a contender, didn't come out and say he would accept a trade to the Yankees, but he left no doubt that the 27-time World Series champions would be an attractive team to join.
"From the very beginning, I've said I want to go to an organization that wants to win, and the Yankees surely want to win," Oswalt said. "I'm going to let the front office and my agent handle that. My main focus right now is just to put us in a situation to win every time I go out there. The other stuff can handle itself."
Oswalt will be a free agent after the 2011 season, and his contract includes a club option for '12. Oswalt has a full no-trade clause but has said he would waive it to be dealt to a team of his choosing. The Yankees would certainly be appealing to Oswalt for several reasons.
"The thing with the Yankees is that every year, they're going to try to go out -- if they're lacking a player here and there -- they're going to go out and get it," Oswalt said. "It doesn't matter the salary, or anything. They're going to try to win every year, and they keep pushing the envelope every year and are getting more and more players and have a great team."
The Yankees have the largest payroll in baseball and are a perennial contender in the American League East, and Andy Pettitte -- Oswalt's close friend and former teammate in Houston -- is a critical piece of the Yankees' starting rotation.
"We played together three years and got to the World Series in Houston [in 2005] and missed it by a little bit [in '04]," Oswalt said. "But he's a great teammate. We talk mostly about pitching more than anything else."
When asked about approving a possible trade to the crosstown Mets, Oswalt said he wants to leave all of his options open.
"Somebody said something about a list [of desirable destination teams] not too long ago, and I don't know anything about that," Oswalt said. "We'll see where I fit as far as my options and go from there. So far, I haven't heard anything from the front office. They haven't come back and said anything, and until they approach me about a team that fits for me and fits for the team, nothing's been said."
But Oswalt reiterated that he wants to be traded to a team that has a great shot to make the playoffs this year and that the location of the city isn't important.
"There are no guarantees in baseball," Oswalt said. "You can go to a team, and they can miss it. Last year or the year before, Detroit had that big lead and got messed up at the end of the season. You're not guaranteed anything, but you want to be in a situation where you can have an option to get there.
"The biggest thing with us is our Minor League [system] is kind of depleted, and we don't have those guys coming from the Minor League side to keep pushing us. That's why I was thinking [a trade] would be best for us."
And if Astros general manager Ed Wade has a chance to get some prospects in return for sending Oswalt to a winner, the pitcher thinks the club should do it.
"With the organization and the whole scheme of things, it would be best for both of us," Oswalt said. "With me, I'm not planning to play a whole lot longer. I've got two more years left, and we'll kind of see where I'm at after that. I'd love to be in contention to get back into the playoffs."
And as far as pitching in the AL, Oswalt would be up to the challenge.
"I would actually be excited to pitch over here," Oswalt said. "Everyone keeps bragging this league's tough. The way I look at it, pitching's pitching. It doesn't matter where you pitch -- you still have to pitch to get guys out.
"You have a lot of guys that play over here that come from the National League and a lot of guys in the National League that came over here to the American League. Location, as far as leagues, doesn't matter. Andy pitched good in Houston. Andy is pitching good with the Yankees."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.