Update, 3 p.m. - Roy Oswalt accepted the trade and waived his no-trade clause. The Houston Astros' ace is a Philadelphia Phillie.
There's something about the Astros that inspires loyalty, if not confidence. In an age of steroids, free agency, and massive egos — shall we call it the Roger Clemens era? — there are few teams that could market themselves as "the good guys" with not a whiff of irony.
Taking the reins of hometown hero from Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt is a good guy. I love that he's from small-town Mississippi. I love that he married his high-school sweetheart. I love that he blows bubbles while he pitches.
I think it says a lot about his character that he stayed so long with the club that drafted him, despite a pitiful offense that made no use of his commanding pitching. No one should be 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA. Dennis Kucinich had more run support.
For me, despite sharing an alma mater with Lance Berkman, the two players of the recent era Astros that I really loved were Oswalt and Brad Lidge. Oswalt was professional, controlled, a bit skinny; Lidge was cute, a bit unpredictable but often brilliant at his job, and prone to yelling "Fuck yeah!" after a tight win with such enthusiasm there was no missing it even from home.
And now, like Lidge, it looks like Oswalt will be heading to Philadelphia through at least 2011. According to various sources, the Astros and Phillies have worked out a deal, sending Oswalt to the City of Brotherly Love and a real pennant race in exchange for pitcher JA Happ and two minor league prospects. The only thing left is for Oswalt to approve the trade — and based on Oswalt's previous statements about his conditions and the strength of the Philadelphia team, there is little reason to suspect he won't OK it.
On behalf of Astros' fans — fans of the good guys — we'll miss you, Roy Oswalt.