The latest on Oswalt

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There have been various updates and added wrinkles to the Roy Oswalt news since this morning. The highlights:

  • Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals are the Astros’ first choice. This squares with what I was hearing last night. Past of it is geographic (Oswalt owns a farm in Illinois and it isn’t terrible far from his Mississippi home).  Part of it is clubhouse culture. Part of it is that Oswalt believes that the Cardinals represent is best chance to win a championship.
  • Heyman says that the Cardinals want the Astros to take on a good chunk of the money still owed Oswalt. I’m sure that’s what they want — who wouldn’t — but I have to think that at some point the Astros would think that, hell, if they’re paying for the guy they may as well get 200 quality innings out of the guy a year too, so why bother?
  • Brad Lidge volunteered that he would gladly call Oswalt in an effort to sell him on coming to Philly instead.  This is rather interesting. On the one hand, given all of the strife Lidge has gone through in Philly these past two seasons, if he can still endorse the city and the club to Oswalt, it speaks highly of the place and maybe Oswalt should listen. On the other hand, the more Lidge reminds Oswalt that Lidge will be responsible for closing out Oswalt’s starts, the less attractive such a prospect becomes, no?
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Cardinals have offered two players from their major league roster for the Astros ace.  In other words, not top pitching prospect Shelby Miller.  Jon Jay, Allen Craig and Fernando Salas are among the likely suspects.

It’s all pretty quiet on the non-Oswalt trade rumor front today, so look for more updates to this one as events warrant.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.