Astros Notes: Oswalt, Berkman, Reds, Castro

Not surprisingly, there's a lot of talk about the Astros tonight in the wake of Roy Oswalt's trade demand.  Here are a few pieces of hot stove info about Houston and their possibly-departing ace….

  • Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle thinks the Astros should completely look to the future and start looking to trade the likes of Lance Berkman, Brett Myers, Matt Lindstrom and other notable players.  Justice sets 2012 as the date when Houston "might be good again" and says "if [Astros GM Ed Wade] thinks a player would still be capable of contributing in 2012, then he ought to stay."
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle dismisses a reader's tweet about any possible interest from the Giants in Oswalt, replying that San Fran needs hitting, not (another) ace pitcher.  In another tweet, he mentions that Berkman is an Astro who would "make more sense" for a Giants trade, and adds that it wouldn't take a prospect the caliber of Madison Bumgarner or Buster Posey to make it happen.
  • An unnamed Reds official "was intrigued" at Oswalt's availability, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Fay is doubtful a trade could be worked out due to Oswalt's contract, but he notes that Oswalt's 2010 salary isn't much larger than those of Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, both of whom can be bought out of their 2011 contracts for $2MM.  (Harang's buyout is worth $500K more if he's traded.)  An NBA-style deal for a semi-expiring contract might interest the Astros since it would free up a lot of payroll space. 
  • Wade tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that catching prospect Jason Castro still needs some more time at Triple-A before Houston thinks about calling him up.  Castro, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft, has a peculiar .259/.390/.295 line in 136 plate appearances for Triple-A Round Rock this season.
  • The Astros will have a hard time getting full value back for Oswalt, says R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs.  Anderson notes that only the Padres were able to get a good return on a pitcher in a similar situation when they dealt Jake Peavy to Chicago.

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