<
>

Back on their feet

5/30/2009

The White Sox's interest in Houston Astros players, and more directly pitcher Roy Oswalt, is real, due to circumstances surrounding ownership and management in Houston. According to baseball sources, Astros players and the coaching staff seem to be at odds these days.

This isn't uncommon when you have a mostly veteran team playing below-average baseball. Former All-Stars like Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada will be available to the right bidder by the trading deadline.

Moving the popular Oswalt, the face of the Astros, is another matter. Houston, like San Diego with Jake Peavy, will move Oswalt and his $72 million contract if they can get three or four top young prospects from somebody's farm system.

The White Sox, being as aggressive as they always are, would not be afraid to pull the trigger on a deal that would bring a top-caliber pitcher under contract control into their system. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has Mark Buehrle for three more years and Gavin Floyd and John Danks for four. Chicago would love to add a quality pitcher like Oswalt or the Giants' Matt Cain to that list.

Having four top starting pitchers under fixed contracts for a long period of years allows Williams and assistant general manager Rich Hahn to project expenditures in the future in order to build the rest of their roster. The White Sox could have almost $40 million coming off of their $98.5 million payroll in the 2009-10 offseason, as Jim Thome ($10 million), Jose Contreras ($11 million), Jermaine Dye ($11 million) and Octavio Dotel ($6 million) all are free agents come November.

The White Sox are right in trying to add a veteran pitcher who's on the younger side if they can. Another World Series team could be developed rather quickly on the South Side with one bold move like a trade for Oswalt. According to baseball sources, Oswalt has a no-trade clause that he must waive before any deal involving him can take place.