Oswalt upset by trade talk

Oswalt upset by trade talk

HOUSTON -- Roy Oswalt has been eyeing free agency for a while, so if he does decide to go that route after the 2007 season, it won't be entirely due to his reaction to how he perceived the events that took place leading up to Monday's non-waiver trade deadline.

But hearing his name in trade talks involving the Orioles, among other teams, didn't help. Oswalt is upset that he was mentioned in a potential package, along with Adam Everett and perhaps Morgan Ensberg, for superstar shortstop Miguel Tejada. He feels the Astros have not been honest with him regarding their desire to keep him as an Astro, and in that respect, he'll have no qualms about testing the free-agent market next year.

Oswalt is not opposed to signing a long-term deal with Houston, but that deal, he said, needs to be reached before the current season is over. And he's looking for a five-year contract.

"We'll see how it turns out," Oswalt said. "I could play the whole year out and then not get an offer at the end of the year. Why not play another year and listen to other teams?

"They say I'm a franchise player, just like Lance [Berkman]. If I'm just like Lance, treat me like Lance."

Oswalt, according to a Major League executive, was never offered by the Astros. Any mention of Oswalt's name came from the Orioles, who ended up not dealing Tejada to any team by the 3 p.m. CT deadline.

After the Orioles asked for Oswalt, the two sides continued discussions, but the Major League source estimated the odds of any deal being made involving the ace right-hander were less than 20 percent.

While the Astros did not make a deal, they were able to gauge the level of interest from other clubs for several players. The interest for Oswalt, 28, was undoubtedly high -- which comes as no surprise, considering he's coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons.

Oswalt said the Astros should have told him first that they were going to see what he attracts on the market. He's not completely sure that he believes the Astros never intended to trade him.

"If you want to throw my name out there to see what the value is, what I'm worth to other teams, run it by me first," he said. "If you're not going to trade me and you want to see what I'm worth, don't throw my name out there.

"Tell me up front. Since no deal went through, it's easy to say, 'We weren't going to trade you.'

"One thing about me. I'm never going to lie to you. I don't want to be lied to. Don't talk outside one side of your mouth and say something else."

Oswalt heard that he was offered to Baltimore, who would have traded him to the Rangers. Oswalt also heard that once word got out that he was on the market, the Mets and Red Sox also asked about him.

"We have good sources outside of Houston who know a lot that went on," Oswalt said. "People don't think that I know."

Pressed for further explanation, Oswalt declined to elaborate.

General manager Tim Purpura declined to give specific details about players who were potentially trade bait, but he did acknowledge that any player who was not protected by a no-trade clause was subject to discussion. Oswalt, working on a two-year deal, has no such clause in his contract.

The fact that Oswalt is under club control for only one more year before he's eligible for free agency also factors into the saga.

"You have to assess the value of your players," Purpura said. "You have listen to what people have to say about your players. You have to listen to your own people, how they assess the player. You have to think about control -- how long do you control the player? We control him for another year, after that, he becomes a free agent. That factors into it. That factors into every equation.

"Some of the trades we talked about with other clubs were not consummated because the other clubs felt, 'What I'm getting is not commesurate to how long we control them.'"

It is unclear whether the Astros and Oswalt can reach a long-term deal by the end of the season, but Purpura has hopes that Oswalt will remain in Houston for the extended future.

"That would certainly be a goal, to talk to Roy long-term," Purpura said. "But that being said, it's like making a trade, you have to have two sides that want to do that. I would hope Roy has had a positive experience here. He's been a key part of our tradition. I would hope he would be amenable to staying on board and helping us the next several years."

Said Oswalt: "There are two sides of baseball. The business side and sometimes you get involved to where it's family-oriented. You get reminded that mostly, it's a business."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.