Roy Oswalt is leaving town, taking his four-pitch repertoire to the two-time defending National League champs, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The trade was pending league approval as of Thursday afternoon, since the Astros are also sending cash. The trade is expected to go through pretty quickly.
In return, the Astros are receiving J.A. ... uh ... Happ and supposedly a pair of inconsequential prospects.
Meanwhile, Oswalt joins up with super-stud righty Roy Halladay in the Phils rotation, creating a brutal 1-2 punch for whomever Philadelphia meets in the postseason - if they make it. Philadelphia is currently 3.5 games behind Atlanta.
Our bitching and moaning, along with the rest of the Astros fan base, would be a bit more distinct if the 'Stros weren't sitting 14 games behind the Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. At least the Cards didn't pick up Oswalt. Thanks, management.
The 32-year-old three-time All-Star had spent the first nine years of his career in an Astros jersey, building a reputation as one of the most feared pitchers in the National League.
Though he never brought a World Series title to Houston (he took the team to the Series in '05, before the damn White Sox swept them), he did give fans some bragging rights in pitching conversations.
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At the time of his trade, Oswalt was 6-12 despite a 3.24 ERA, while leading the team in strikeouts, and allowing the fewest runs and walks.
The burden of filling his void will now fall on Brett Myers or Wandy Rodriguez. Certainly, not on Happ. Or, more likely, with Oswalt's $16 million salary off the books, we'll just have to hope for a big signing or some significant trade.
By the way, so inconsequential were the prospects received along with Happ, that one of them, outfielder Anthony Gose, was immediately traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for first-baseman Brett Wallace.
The trade isn't all bad. By trading Oswalt before his scheduled start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, the Astros prevented the chance of Oswalt tying Joe Niekro's franchise-leading record of 144 career victories.