Rosenthal: Oswalt should be more flexible

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Ken Rosenthal thinks that Roy Oswalt needs to drop his demand that whatever team he goes to pick up his 2012 option. He also thinks that Oswalt needs to be more flexible about the teams to which he’d accept trades:

If Roy Oswalt wants to be traded – really wants to be traded – he should start acting like it.

That means dropping any demand for a potential suitor to exercise his
$16 million club option for 2012; his new team could compensate him for
waiving his no-trade clause in a less extravagant way.

It also means staying open-minded on which teams he would approve
for a trade; the Cardinals, his reported first choice, are not the only
club with a chance to win the World Series.

Remember, Oswalt asked the Astros to trade him, relaying his request
through his agent, Bob Garber, in May. Some rival executives find it
galling that the pitcher now seems to be trying to orchestrate every
term of his departure.

I see what Rosenthal is saying — and I’d agree with him wholeheartedly if Oswalt was out there complaining about the Astros not being able to find a trade partner or something — but I’ll note that no one ever expects teams to simply surrender the leverage for which they have bargained.  And I’ll also ask: in what “less extravagant way” could a new team compensate Oswalt for dropping his no-trade rights?  The minute he drops them, he has zero leverage to demand anything.

We certainly shouldn’t hear Oswalt to complain if the Astros can’t trade him given what he’s asking for, but in a world where teams can control where players work for the first six to twelve years of their career before the player even gets a bit of say in the matter, I have no problem with Oswalt using whatever means are at his disposal to get what he wants for the final handful of years of his career.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.