HOUSTON -- Soon after Astros owner Drayton McLane hosted a small holiday dinner for his top executives and their spouses Friday night, he indicated to MLB.com that Roy Oswalt's offer to restructure his contract in order to make room for a top-line starting pitcher is a generous thought, but not something that will immediately lead to big spending.
McLane said he has not talked to Oswalt personally, deferring to general manager Ed Wade, who originally received the message from Oswalt that he would be willing to shift some salary to clear room on the payroll. However, Oswalt's hope that the team would add another high-salaried, bona fide star is not something the Astros are prepared to make happen in the near term, McLane said.
"It would be a No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher, and that's just not in the cards right now," McLane said via mobile phone.
The Astros are in the process of lowering their payroll from a projected $120 million to about $100 million. They non-tendered Ty Wigginton earlier Friday evening, clearing some payroll space.
The current fragile economy has many teams in modes of uncertainty, including the Astros. Until that shifts and the picture becomes more stable, the Astros are unlikely to make a shopping splash this offseason.
"With the uncertainty of the economic situation in our country today, we don't know where our revenues will be," McLane said. "Every team is going through the same thing, except the Yankees and Red Sox."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.