The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales is reporting that Astros ace Roy Oswalt has asked Houston owner Drayton McLane Jr. to be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline. Astros GM Ed Wade confirmed Oswalt's request to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Oswalt said last week that he was "open" to a potential deal and would waive his no-trade clause if he could join a contending team.
Oswalt has been rumored to be possibly the top starter available at the deadline, and after a somewhat shaky 2009 season, he has looked like his old self this year — a 2.66 ERA and 3.75 K/BB ratio in nine starts, though his record is just 2-6 for the last-place Astros. The right-hander is guaranteed to earn $15MM this season, $16MM in 2011, and will require a $2MM buyout of his contract for 2012, a club option for another $16MM. It's a steep price for a pitcher who will be 33 in August.
We've already heard that the Mets might not have the money to make a play for Oswalt, though given their recent struggles, they might not be looking to add players at the deadline anyway. Atlanta, St. Louis and Texas are reportedly Oswalt's top preferences for a new team.