Oswalt approves trade to contending Phillies

A person with knowledge of the deal says Houston ace pitcher Roy Oswalt has agreed to waive his no-trade clause and accept a move to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Deal pending physical; Astros would get pitcher Happ, prospects

There's a new Roy in town, and he's an ace, too.

Three-time all-star Roy Oswalt gave his OK to a trade from Houston to Philadelphia on Thursday, becoming the latest star pitcher to join the hard-charging Phillies.

After getting Roy Halladay in the off-season, the two-time defending National League champions got Oswalt and a sizable amount of cash from the Astros for pitcher J.A. Happ and two speedy prospects, outfielder Anthony Gose and shortstop Jonathan Villar.

The Astros then traded Gose to Toronto for AAA first baseman Brett Wallace, a 23-year-old who hit .301 with 18 home runs and 61 runs batted in at Las Vegas.

Blue Jays at the deadline

With the rumour mill churning out the names of up to seven Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline could rank among the busiest in the team's 34-year history.

Relief pitcher Scott Downs appears to be the most likely to leave, while fellow relievers Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor, catcher John Buck and infielder-outfielder Jose Bautista also could have new addresses by 4 p.m. ET Saturday.

According to baseballreference.com, the Blue Jays have made 35 deals in the month of July.

Some of the more notable moves in that month are listed below

2006: Toronto sends P Vinnie Chulk and 3B Shea Hillenbrand to San Francisco for RP Jeremy Accardo

2002: Blue Jays deal OF Raul Mondesi to the New York Yankees P Scott Wiggins

2000: Toronto sends SS Michael Young and P Darwin Cubillan to Texas for SP Esteban Loaiza

1997: Blue Jays ship P Paul Spoljaric and P Mike Timlin to Seattle for OF Jose Cruz Jr.

1995: Toronto trades P David Cone to the Yankees for P Jason Jarvis, P Mike Gordon and P Marty Janzen

1993: Blue Jays deal P Steve Karsay and player to be named to Oakland for OF Rickey Henderson

He is due about $5.33 million US the rest of this season from his $15 million salary and is owed $16 million in 2011. Oswalt's contract has a $16 million mutual option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team sweetened the buyout, but wouldn't consider it a "significant" amount.

The Astros seemed set to send about $11 million to the Phillies as part of the deal. Amaro declined to specify the amount. He is guaranteed $23.46 million through next season.

Oswalt joins a rotation that includes Halladay, acquired from Toronto in the off-season, and Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP. Oswalt is scheduled to make his debut for the Phillies on Friday night, starting at Washington.

"We're trying to do what we can to get back to the World Series and win it," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "To have Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay and additionally Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick, we stack ourselves up as one of the best rotations in baseball."

Deadline dealers

This was the second straight year the Phillies made a major trade for a pitcher in the days leading up to the July 31 deadline. Last season, they got Cliff Lee and he boosted them to another NL pennant — Lee was then sent to Seattle in a separate deal on the same day the Phillies acquired Halladay.

"I'm excited," Halladay said. "It says a lot that this team is dedicated to winning."

The Phillies took a seven-game winning streak into Thursday night's game against Arizona. Philadelphia began the day 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

Oswalt has a 6-12 record and 3.42 earned-run average in 20 starts with 120 strikeouts in 129 innings pitched.

The 32-year-old apparently requested a trade in May, and talks ensued with the Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals — some say Oswalt's preferred destination — Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, and Los Angeles Dodgers, among others. 

He had a no-trade clause in his contract and could decide whether to accept any deal.

"We salute what Roy did for the organization and the contributions that he made here over the course of his career in an Astros uniform and his profile here is significant," Astros GM Ed Wade said. "At the end of the day, we have to do what's best for the Houston Astros. You can't make a deal like this as a favour to a player. In this case I think we served everybody's purposes with what we did."

Complicated trade

Astros owner Drayton McLane is said to have dealt directly with Phillies president David Montgomery to complete the complicated trade.

"He's pretty excited about coming here," Amaro said. "The fact that Roy came to Philadelphia with really no great demand, that says something about the guy."

Happ, 27, finished second in National League rookie of the year voting last season but has made only three starts in 2010 because of a forearm injury. He won't go to salgary arbitration until after the 2011 season and the Astros control his rights through 2014.

Gose played for the Phillies' High A club this season and was ranked sixth among the team's prospects by Baseball America entering the 2010 campaign.

The 19-year-old is fast, stealing 36 bases and hitting .263 for advanced class A Clearwater.

Villar was the 22nd rated Phillies prospect heading into this season. However, the results haven't been there yet in Low A ball, but Baseball America says he has "plus tools across the board except for power."

With files from Doug Harrison, CBC Sports