Olney’s Latest: Oswalt, Berkman, Rays, Wood

In today's blog post at ESPN, Buster Olney discusses the trade value of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, which might not be as good as owner Drayton McLane would like. One GM noted that Houston's ace battled back trouble last year, which makes him a scary investment because of the potential to underperform and/or breakdown. 

Another executive noted that the contracts of both players might be prohibitive. Oswalt is guaranteed $33MM through 2011, while Berkman is making $15MM this season with a $2MM buyout of his $15MM club option for next season. It's also worth noting that the first baseman is hitting just .185/.290/.352 in 62 plate appearances since coming off the disabled list. If McLane decides to move one of his franchise players, it might be a tough pill to swallow since the return is expected to be less than stellar. 

Here's the rest of Olney's rumors…

  • Despite having the game's best record and run differential, the Rays need a righthanded reliever and lefty hitting designated hitter. The latter will likely have to come from outside the organization, and the opportunity to acquire such a player will assuredly arise during the summer. Remember, the Rays do have Hank Blalock hitting .388/.448/.541 in Triple-A.
  • Olney speculates that the team could use top prospect Jeremy Hellickson as that righty reliever, though it might compromise their rotation depth since he's effectively their sixth starter.
  • Kerry Wood's injury probably increased the chances that he'll be traded, because now his $11MM option for next season is unlikely to vest.