Despite his full no trade clause, it appears as though Roy Oswalt is willing to be traded from the Astros:
"When you get to a point where you need to start rebuilding they're going to start with a guy that's got a lot of value," said the righty, "and I understand that if I'm throwing well that they maybe can get two or three guys that can fill holes that they need."
While it's all well and good in theory for the Astros, who are currently in last place in the NL Central, to find a team willing to give up quality prospects in return for Oswalt and the $31 million remaining on his contract ($15 million this season, $16 million next), the reality is that there might not be too many teams willing to do that. Outside of the Red Sox and Yankees, how many teams can actually afford to pay Oswalt $16 million next season? Not many.
What the Astros should be willing to do is this: if they are still out of contention by late June or early July then they absolutely should shop Oswalt. But the goal should not just be to get rid of his contract; instead, the Astros should do whatever possible to maximize the return on their ace. If that means eating a portion of Oswalt's contract in order to get back a better player, than so be it.
The reality is that right now payroll flexibility is not that valuable to the Astros right now. While I'm sure the Astros would love to unload Oswalt's contract, this is a franchise that desperately needs a infusion of talented, young players to begin the process of rebuilding the organization. This franchise needs to build the right way; not through free agency, but through solid draft picks and through a strong minor league system.