- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Houston ace right-hander Roy Oswalt, stuck on one victory so far this season, is starting to hear his name bandied about in trade rumors.
Oswalt and Astros manager Cecil Cooper are reported to be at odds, and with the pitcher's poor record and team's abysmal two-month performance, Oswalt may be just the beginning of what could be a major rebuilding program in Houston.
One source close to the situation said Oswalt has a no-trade clause in his contract that covers another three years and an option year. That same source said Oswalt would prefer to stay in the National League.
So all the stories about Oswalt refusing to play for the White Sox -- for any other reason than the Sox are in the American League -- seem to lack substance.
Most National League pitchers such as Oswalt and Jake Peavy prefer to stay in the NL so they don't have to face a designated hitter.
Adding Oswalt would not only make the Sox favorites to win the AL Central Division, but a legitimate World Series contender.
According to major league sources, the Phillies and Brewers also are interested in acquiring Oswalt. Boston has coveted Oswalt, but the Red Sox are loaded with pitching, and most likely will be dealing a starter when John Smoltz is ready to return to the rotation in the next week to 10 days.
The White Sox should not have an inferiority complex about Oswalt not wanting to come to their team. It's more about a pitcher not wanting to see his ERA balloon and preferring to stay in the NL.
Oswalt wants to stay in the NL