Roy Oswalt is only 32 years old, but he's already talking about retirement, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. When asked about his future, Oswalt entertained the possibility of only pitching for a couple more seasons:
"I still love the game. I still love the competition. … But when I get finished with my contract, if I’m not pitching at the level I’m pitching at now, then I’m not going to come back and hurt the team."
Oswalt has been one of baseball's most dominant starting pitchers this century, posting a 3.23 ERA since breaking into the majors in 2001. Though his 4.12 ERA in 2009 was a career-worst, it's still hard to imagine him becoming ineffective enough that he'd want to retire when his current contract expires at age 34.
It's conceivable, however, that he might not be an Astro by 2012. Morosi compares Oswalt to Roy Halladay and Jake Peavy, two aces who were traded from non-contenders to contenders within the last year. The Astros have no immediate plans to rebuild or to deal Oswalt, but teammate Lance Berkman acknowledges, "I could see Roy saying, 'Hey, I want to go somewhere where I’m pitching for a championship.'"