Oswalt reacts to trade
Roy Oswalt went to an empty clubhouse at Minute Maid Park on Thursday afternoon and cleaned out his locker. He was scheduled to fly to Philadelphia later in the day to start a new life with a new team. Oswalt will start for the two-time defending NL championship Phillies on Friday night against the Washington Nationals.
“It’s exciting for sure,” Oswalt told MLB.com. “I think it works out for both of us. Houston’s getting good prospects and another pitcher, and I’m getting to go to a great team. I’m happy for both sides. From the very beginning, I said I wouldn’t accept it unless it worked out for both of us, and I think it worked out.”
Oswalt said leaving Houston was hard.
“I think probably the toughest part was packing up my locker, for sure, knowing I started here and have to leave now,” Oswalt said. “Just like I said, it’s going to be good for the organization, and I think it will be good for me, too. The organization has been great to me, and I hope they get back in it and get back to the playoffs real soon.”
When the deal was done, Oswalt called longtime teammate Lance Berkman, who along with Wandy Rodriguez are the only remaining players from the 2005 World Series team, and said his goodbyes. He telephoned former teammate Brad Lidge on Thursday night to gauge the atmosphere in Philadelphia.
“You’ve pretty much got an All-Star at every position,” Oswalt said. “They have a real good team as far as a union. I talked to Brad Lidge last night about the clubhouse and he likes it a lot up there with guys like Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino and some other great guys. Overall, it came down to Houston getting something for me and I was getting to go to a contender.”
Oswalt, 32, was drafted in the 23rd round by the Astros in 1996 and reached the Majors five years later, going 14-3 in his rookie season. He posted back-to-back 20-wins seasons in 2004 and 2005 to lead the Astros to the NLCS in 2004 and World Series in 2005. Oswalt held the Cardinals to one run and five hits in seven innings to win Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS en route to being named the NLCS Most Valuable Player.
He was 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA this year and had some of the worst run support in the league, which played into his decision to request a trade. He is second on the Astros’ all-time wins list with 143, just one behind Joe Niekro.
“I wish the best for the organization,” Oswalt said. “The fans have been behind me for 10 years. There are no hard feelings on my side. Houston has done everything I’ve asked, and I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me. I’m hoping to have a chance to pitch in the playoffs and the World Series. I’m hoping to get back there and experience again what we did in ’05.”