J.A. Happ Rumors

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:


Phillies Acquire Roy Oswalt

Just one win shy of the Astros' franchise win record, Roy Oswalt is leaving the only team he's ever known.  The 32-year-old righty approved a trade to the Phillies, who sent J.A. Happ and low minors prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar to Houston for Oswalt and $11MM.  The Astros then flipped Gose to the Blue Jays.  The Phillies will not pick up Oswalt's 2012 option, but will add $1MM to the buyout as compensation.  Seven months after trading Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects, the Phillies added a different ace to their rotation to support Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.  Oswalt has a 3.42 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9 in 20 starts this year.

Oswalt asked the Astros for a trade in late May, and talks ensued with the Phillies, Cardinals, Rangers, Padres, and Dodgers, among others.  Astros owner Drayton McLane dealt directly with Phillies president David Montgomery to complete the complicated trade.  As expected, Oswalt's full no-trade clause, his 2012 option, and the $23.46MM guaranteed to him through '11 were significant obstacles.

Happ, 27, finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last year with a 2.93 ERA in 166 innings.  However, he's tallied only 53 pro innings in 2010 due to an April forearm injury. Happ won't go to arbitration until after the 2011 season and the Astros control his rights through 2014.

Gose, a speedy center fielder playing at the High A level, was ranked sixth among the team's prospects by Baseball America heading into the season.  He rates highly for his speed, defense, and arm tools, but remains a work in progress.

Villar, a shortstop in Low A ball, was ranked 22nd among Phillies prospects heading into the season.  The results haven't been there yet but BA says he has "plus tools across the board except for power."

Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston first reported the agreement late Wednesday night, while Ken RosenthalJayson Stark, Jon Heyman, Matt Gelb, Amy K. Nelson, Jerry Crasnick, and Danny Knobler contributed more information today.

Oswalt Approves Phillies Deal; Option Won’t Be Exercised

1:53pm: The deal is done, tweets Rosenthal.  Piecing this together, it appears the Astros send Oswalt and $11MM to the Phillies for Happ, Gose, and Villar, with the Phils potentially adding $1MM to Oswalt's buyout but not exercising his option.

A few tweets from Crasnick: the Cardinals and Padres made late runs at Oswalt today.

1:44pm:  Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's option is actually a mutual one.  With the trade, his buyout will increase from $1MM to $2MM if the Phillies pick up the option and he declines, and remain at $2MM "if he simply opts out on his own."  Rosenthal adds that the third player in the deal will be shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar.  Some sources spell it "Villan," including the Baseball America Handbook.    

1:34pm: Oswalt has accepted the deal, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer

12:51pm: Gose and Happ are definitely in the deal, tweets CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury.

12:12pm: Oswalt plans to OK the deal, but it's not official yet, reports Stark.  He adds that the Astros will be sending $11MM.  Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's 2012 option will not be exercised; he'll be compensated some other way.  ESPN's Amy K. Nelson tweets that Oswalt will get $1MM added by the Phillies to the buyout of his '12 option.  She adds that the details are being worked out now regarding Oswalt retaining his no-trade clause. 

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets of a rumor that speedy outfield prospect Anthony Gose may be in the deal.  AOL FanHouse's Ed Price tweets that he's hearing Gose and Worley could be in the swap.

10:43am: Rosenthal tweets that he hears Singleton is not in the deal.

10:17am: The identities of the other two players going to Houston remain unknown, but ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Astros have pushed hard for minor league first baseman Jonathan Singleton

9:04am: The Astros will receive three players for Oswalt, tweets Rosenthal, while also paying a "very significant" part of his salary.  Happ will be one of the three.  Astros owner Drayton McLane has been negotiating directly with Phillies president David Montgomery, reports CBS' Danny Knobler.

7:37am: SI's Jon Heyman hears the Astros and Phillies were discussing Happ, righty Vance Worley, and two younger pitchers (Twitter link).  Worley, a 22-year-old righty, spent most of 2010 at Double A, posting a 3.20 ERA, 6.6 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9.  Baseball America ranked him 18th among Phillies prospects heading into the season, predicting a future as a back-end starter or middle reliever.

1:08am: The Astros and Phillies have reached an agreement on a Roy Oswalt trade, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston.  Berman says the Astros are now waiting for Oswalt's approval, having hammered out the players and money with the Phils.  Wednesday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had reported that the players were "pretty much agreed on."  Lefty J.A. Happ has been a rumored part of the deal for a while now.

Oswalt's contract has $5.46MM left from his $15MM salary this year, $16MM in 2011, and a 2012 option for $16MM with a $2MM buyout.  It remains to be seen how the Astros and Phillies settled the financials and whether the Phils will pick up Oswalt's option, though SI's Jon Heyman hears that the Astros are sending a lot of money to the Phillies (Twitter link).

Ted Lilly Rumors: Wednesday

Ted Lilly may have made his last start as a Cub last night, tossing five-plus shutout innings in Houston while lowering his ERA to 3.69.  The latest on the lefty up top:

  • The Dodgers are more focused on Lilly and Paul Maholm than Roy Oswalt, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
  • The market for Lilly has picked up, according to Stark (on Twitter). The Tigers are involved, and so are the Dodgers, Twins and Phillies.
  • The Phillies have inquired on Lilly, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter). Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears rumblings about a possible Lilly-J.A. Happ deal (Twitter link). However, Stark hears that the Phils, who are on the lefty's no-trade list, won't deal Happ for Lilly. The Twins and Dodgers remain involved, but the Mets are waiting to hear "from above" before pursuing Lilly more aggressively, according to Rosenthal. 
  • The Cubs have indicated a recent willingness to assume some of the $4.43MM owed to Lilly, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  That'd help the chances of a Dodgers deal.  Unfortunately for the Cubs, potential Lilly suitors like the Mets and Tigers may be reassessing their chances.
  • The Twins have asked about Lilly, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but their presence on his no-trade list means he'd require additional compensation to accept a deal. 

Roy Oswalt Rumors: Wednesday

The lowdown on Roy Oswalt, with the newest buzz up top…

  • The Phils and Astros have a deal in place that would send Oswalt to Philadelphia, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports in Houston. Oswalt, who is aware of the potential deal, can make it official by waiving his no-trade clause. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman are working to confirm the story on Twitter.
  • Talks between the Phillies and Astros have intensified in the last day, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. The clubs have more or less agreed on players – J.A. Happ and prospects would go to Houston – but they can’t agree on how much salary the Astros will absorb. Jayson Werth is off the market, so taking on payroll won’t be easy for the Phils.
  • The Dodgers are now more focused on trying to obtain Ted Lilly or Paul Maholm.
  • The Phillies and Astros are now dealing one-on-one, with no other teams involved, according to Olney (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Phillies are the favorites to acquire Oswalt and notes (on Twitter) that the Yanks inquired once.
  • Three or four teams will likely be involved if the Phillies acquire Oswalt, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
  • Astros owner Drayton McLane told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle that a trade seems likely. "I'd say it's about 60% that something could be done and 40% that Roy will be here next year," McLane said.
  • Oswalt is telling friends that he can’t wait to leave Houston, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff. The righty says he won’t necessarily insist that teams pick up his 2012 option.
  • Oswalt wants ample time to decide on any trade, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.  He doesn't want the Astros coming to him an hour or two before Saturday's deadline.
  • The Reds made a cursory call on Oswalt, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but no names were exchanged.  John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote today that Oswalt is too expensive for the Reds.
  • The Cardinals are out and the Dodgers are making no progress, reports Rosenthal.  The Phillies' front office is still divided about giving up prospects and taking on Oswalt's contract, though the players they'd send to the Astros are "pretty much agreed on."  Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that the Cardinals remain in contact with the Astros for Oswalt. 
  • If Oswalt takes the mound Friday night against the Brewers, "the odds of him being traded are down to almost nothing" says Richard Justice of the Houston ChronicleESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Astros are "working very, very hard" to find an acceptable Oswalt deal despite all the obstacles. 
  • The Phillies "remain top contenders" for Oswalt, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Zolecki's source thinks Oswalt's 2012 club option "is not the sticking point it has been made to be."  On the other hand, ESPN's Jayson Stark feels that if the Phillies retain Jayson Werth as expected they won't have a way to clear 2010 payroll for Oswalt.

Odds & Ends: Rangers, DeJesus, Westbrook, Happ

There's still plenty of news in the baseball world outside of today's surprising deal.  Let's dive in..

Odds & Ends: Reds, Happ, Edmonds, Rangers, Tigers

Links for Sunday, as Jim Thome cranks his 576th career home run….

Phillies Exploring Oswalt, Werth Trades

The Phillies are exploring acquiring Roy Oswalt and moving Jayson Werth in a companion trade, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says nothing is close, but Ed Price of AOL FanHouse says the Oswalt talks are "heavy."  Oswalt has yet to be presented with a deal for his approval.  Stark says the Phils have also discussed Dan Haren, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ben Sheets as they leave no rock unturned.  As for Werth, Stark believes the Rays "head the list of interested teams."  The impending free agent would be moved to save money, stock the farm system, and open up a spot for Domonic Brown.  Stark says the Red Sox, Giants, and Padres are also interested in Werth.

The Phillies recently optioned Kyle Kendrick to the minors and lost Jamie Moyer to an elbow strain, so they could use starting pitching depth. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. hinted today that the club could acquire a starter by Saturday. The Phils have already committed $135MM to next year's payroll, so adding an expensive arm like Haren or Oswalt would take some maneuvering.

One candidate to start Saturday, or perhaps be traded, is J.A. Happ.  Stark says the Phillies have shopped the lefty, and the Astros scouted him on Tuesday.

Click here to predict the Phillies next move.

Phils, Ms, Blue Jays Agree On Halladay-Cliff Lee Blockbuster

12:45am: Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider has had this info for quite a while today – the Phillies will get Aumont, Gillies, and righty Juan Ramirez from Seattle.

11:33pm: Rosenthal reports that the Phillies get $6MM from the Jays. Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and probably Travis D'Arnaud are headed to Toronto, Rosenthal says. Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and a third player are apparently headed to Philadelphia.  

10:12pm: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter) has Toronto getting Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D'Arnaud; Philly getting Roy Halladay and Phillippe Aumont; and the Mariners getting Cliff Lee, plus another piece (or, pieces).

9:46pm: One Mariner prospect headed to Philly would be 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies, writes Stark in his latest update.

9:25pm: As the deal stands now, M's prospects would only be going to Philadelphia, not Toronto, sources tell Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).


Roy Halladay Rumors: Thursday

11:36pm: One baseball source tells Tom Verducci of SI.com that the Phillies have been "very aggressive" in their efforts to obtain Halladay. Apparently the Phils are trying to find the players the Blue Jays want, even if that means looking on other teams.

10:00pm: Angels GM Tony Reagins didn't comment on the reported offer of Saunders, Aybar and Bourjos, but two sources shot the rumor down when Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times asked them about it.

Reagins said the Blue Jays have targeted Saunders, Bourjos and Mike Napoli. It's even "possible" that the deal could be expanded to send more Blue Jays to Anaheim.

"They have a lot of pieces that are attractive," Reagins said.

8:33am: Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had this to say to Scott Lauber about acquiring Halladay:  "I don't think there's any likeliness. None."

6:01am: Mark Feinsand of The NY Daily News spoke to a source who said "Don't rule out them including Cole Hamels" in a potential Halladay deal. I'm not sure it's wise for Philly to sell low on Hamels for only one year of Halladay, but that would be something.

4:47am: Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says that the Angels and Phillies have emerged as the frontrunners in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. Philadelphia is prepared to offer a package that will likely include J.A. Happ, plus either Michael Taylor or Domonic Brown. Echoing a report from yesterday, Rosenthal says the Angels offered Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, and Peter Bourjos to the Blue Jays.

Halladay will likely require a contract extension in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause according to Rosenthal, and the Phillies would almost certainly have to make another move to fit Halladay into the payroll. Joe Blanton is a prime candidate to be that sacrificial lamb. Meanwhile, the Angels are trying to re-sign John Lackey, and could withdraw from the Halladay pursuit if he returns.