Roy Oswalt: Don't Blame Him For Astros' Front-Office Incompetence

In a way, it's probably all kismet. The stars were perfectly aligned (thanks to a little magic fairy dust from Drayton McLane applied to the pitching order), the scouts were in attendance, and the event had been hyped for awhile.

Roy Oswalt was pitching Saturday night to tie Joe Niekro for the most wins ever by a Houston Astros pitcher.

He lost, and the Astros lost, 7-0.

Of course, Oswalt was lined up to tie the record last Sunday in Pittsburgh. He lost, and the Astros lost. And on Friday night, if he's still property of the Houston Astros, Oswalt will once again be set up to tie the record in a home game.

Never mind that he was actually supposed to break the record in a home game before he was traded, but at least maybe he'll get the chance to tie the record before he's traded.

There's the thing. The MLB trading deadline arrives on Saturday. And Roy Oswalt has asked to be traded away from the dreadful, poorly managed team for which he pitches.

The Astros said they would do their best to satisfy him. And despite numerous reports from breathless Houston media -- who are all hanging on every word that escapes the lips of Drayton McLane and Ed Wade -- that the Astros have actually attempted to pull off such a deal, it's appearing more and more likely that a deal won't be made.

Not just a deal involving Oswalt. It's appearing that the Astros won't even trade Brett Myers.

Myers, a hothead enjoying a short-lived career rejuvenation in his short time here as an Astro, is also picking up interest from contending teams that want to shore up their pitching. But apparently, the Astros aren't interested in trading away some they feel could be the future core of the pitching staff.

It's way, way too easy to blame Oswalt for the lack of a trade, so far. And that appears to be the tack that many are taking. They're angry that he's trying to dictate the terms of the deal. They're angry that he's supposedly not agreeing to certain teams. Or that he's willing to go to certain teams and not others, and that he's willing to waive an option year for those teams he really wants to go to.

As usual, the Houston sports fan appears to be jumping on the blame-the-player bandwagon. Then again, if most Houston sports fans had a full no-trade clause in their contract, had option years on their contracts, and had offered up a set of employers to which they would be willing to relocate, that they would all willingly waive those rights just because their idiot general manager is only able to pick up the phone and deal with one competing company.

Oswalt has said he wants to go to a team that can win this year. Ed Wade has tried to set up a deal with the Phillies -- shocking, I know, that Wade would try to do a deal with the Phillies. That's almost as shocking as Gary Kubiak doing a deal with someone who was once associated with the Denver Broncos.

The Phillies, the last time I checked the standings, were almost out of contention. So Oswalt, while not vetoing the Phillies, apparently requested that the Phillies pick up his option for 2012, a demand he has not, apparently, made of some of the other teams to which he is willing to go, like the St. Louis Cardinals (that makes sense, seeing that the Cardinals are in contention, and that his addition to that rotation would make the Cards the NL favorite to make the World Series).

But perhaps it's not all on Oswalt. The word coming out of places like Los Angeles and New York, where the Dodgers and Yankees are supposedly interested, is that it's Astros management who is screwing up trade talk with unrealistic demands, demands that the likes of Cleveland (last year) and Seattle (this year) didn't even appear to try for the more desirable Cliff Lee.

So while the stars were aligned for Roy Oswalt to go into the Astros' record books this past weekend, it doesn't appear that will happen. At least if he's traded.

And while the Houston fans and media will attempt to put the blame on Oswalt, whether he's traded or not, perhaps people should cast their glaze in another direction.

It's not Roy Oswalt who is screwing things up. He's just doing what any person would do given this opportunity.

Perhaps, instead, it's Drayton McLane and Ed Wade who are doing the screwing up. They're just the incompetent duo, displaying their incompetence for the whole world to see yet again.

(And a huge hat tip to the Astros County blog which is doing a great job of reporting and sorting all of the rumors around Roy Oswalt.)

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