All that stands in the way of the Phillies' acquiring Houston righthander Roy Oswalt is his willingness to waive his no-trade clause, according to multiple reports in Houston this morning.
The Phillies would send lefthander J.A. Happ and prospects to the Astros in exchange for Oswalt, the reports say.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Oswalt has been told of the deal on the table and the terms. Of course, it is not a certainty that Oswalt approves the deal, even if he was the one who asked the Astros to move him to a contender.
Houston's Fox 26 had the initial report late last night.
The trading deadline is 4 p.m. Saturday.
Oswalt told reporters Wednesday that he would like to have some time to decide before the deadline, perhaps increasing the urgency for the sides to come to an agreement.
"You do need a little bit of time," Oswalt said, according to MLB.com. "I don't want it to be two hours before the Deadline and have to make a quick decision. I would rather have a little bit of time to think about it."
According to the Fox 26 report, the sides have agreed on how much salary the Astros are paying, and ESPN is saying it could be a "significant amount." Oswalt is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season and $16 million next season.
It is unclear whether the Phillies have agreed to pick up Oswalt's $16 million option in 2012. He has indicated a willingness to restructure his contract in the right situation. Of course, that option year would put a major dent in what is already shaping up to a big payroll for 2012. The Phillies have $40 million combined due to Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay alone.
Phillies officials were not available this morning for comment. Houston GM Ed Wade has declined comment.
Foxsports.com reported earlier this week that Oswalt was unwilling to come to Philadelphia and did not want to pitch on the East Coast.
Oswalt told the Houston Chronicle, in response, "That's not an issue. Like I said from the beginning, it's going to have work for both of us."
Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA in 129 innings with 120 strikeouts this season. His arrival would give the Phillies a strong 1-2-3 punch at the top of their rotation with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.
The Astros are off today and Oswalt is scheduled to pitch Friday night at home against Milwaukee. If the deal happens, Oswalt would leave the Astros franchise one shy of the team record for wins (144) held by Joe Neikro.
Initially, reports indicated that the Phillies and Astros were looking for a third team, possibly Tampa Bay to be involved in the deal. That no longer became the case when the Phillies could not trade rightfielder Jayson Werth, following Shane Victorino's injury earlier this week.
Happ, who returned to the big leagues Sunday after missing most of the season, was drafted by the Phillies in the third round in 2004, when current Astros GM Ed Wade was still the Phillies' GM. He is scheduled to make $470,000 this season and is still several years away from free agency. The Astros have scouted Happ twice over the last week and a half.
The Phillies have talent at the lower levels of the minors and the Astros have scouted Lakewood, including a visit from Wade himself. The package figures to be heavy on pitching, rather than position players. Speculation has that Vance Worley, who was with the Phillies over the weekend and started at Triple A Tuesday night, could be included.
Interestingly, the Phillies keep saying that you can never have too much pitching and they keep ending up with less depth than they started with each move.