And now we wait. Apparently. Maybe. Possibly.
Multiple outlets are reporting what KRIV-TV in Houston first reported early Thursday morning: The Phillies and Astros have agreed upon a package of players to be exchanged for righthander Roy Oswalt. The trade has been presented to Oswalt, who has a full no-trade clause, for his consideration.
The two teams have also reportedly agreed on a way to handle the remainder of Oswalt's salary. ESPN is reporting the Phillies have asked the Astros to pay a "significant portion" of the $5 million Oswalt is due for the remainder of this season plus the $16 million Oswalt is due in 2011.
Then, of course, there is the $16 million club option for 2012.
That has been the sticking point all along, a baseball source told The Inquirer earlier in the week.
"Oswalt has [Astros general manager] Ed Wade and everybody else at his mercy because of that no-trade clause," the source said. "I know the Phillies thought they were close to having it done last week, but I think the difference was that option year."
The Phillies and Astros could think they are close to a deal again, but it's all in Oswalt's hands now.
If Houston is to pay a "significant portion" of the money due to Oswalt, that would require the Phillies to surrender better players in return for the pitcher. Lefthander J.A. Happ would go in a deal. So too would righthander Vance Worley, whom The Inquirer first reported was a Houston target.
Beyond that, one or two of the Lakewood pitchers could go: From Jarred Cosart to Brody Colvin to Trevor May or Josh Zeid. Jonathan Singleton has been mentioned as a possible player to move, but the Phillies have insisted before he be kept out of talks.
Initially, the Phillies had hoped to move Jayson Werth, a free agent at season's end, to another contender in return for prospects. Those prospects could be flipped to Houston in a deal for Oswalt.
But now, since Werth is not likely to be traded with Shane Victorino out at least three weeks, the Phillies would have to take on the additional payroll in an Oswalt deal and also surrender some of their prospects.
There are so many things to consider with a possible deal. One: If the Phillies agreed to guarantee Oswalt's $16 million option year, they will have committed $100.45 million to eight players for the 2012 season. That's just not going to work, unless management is committed to expanding the payroll.
That is likely why the Phillies have asked the Astros to pay some of Oswalt's salary.
Two: Cliff Lee? OK, we said it.
At this point, it would be shocking if Oswalt put the kibosh on the trade. No, he may not want to play in Philadelphia. But he demanded a trade back in May. If his monetary demands can be met (by both the Astros and Phillies chipping in cash), how could he reject the deal? He would have the chance to play for a contender.
And so we wait.