Roy Oswalt wants to pitch in the World Series. The Astros are not going to make the World Series. From this mismatch came, essentially, a trade demand. And now, after weeks of rumors linking the Houston hurler to both the Cardinals and Phillies, it seems that a deal with Philadelphia is all but done. All that is left is for Oswalt to sign off on it.
But should he? That's the question SB Nation's Astros blog, Crawfish Boxes, asks. If Oswalt's top priority really is pitching in the Fall Classic, which team between the Cardinals and Phillies gives him the best chance? After running through some SABR models, the answer is, unsurprisingly, the Cardinals. Not including a potential Oswalt addition, St. Louis has roughly a 66 per cent chance of making the postseason (averaging a few different methods), while Philadelphia is about half that at 32 per cent.
Of course, if Oswalt's goal is to gain baseball immortality, the Phillies begin to make a lot more sense. His marginal value is significantly greater for them -- i.e, his presence would help them much more than it would for the Cardinals. As Crawfish Boxes puts it:
Oswalt could be a huge factor in a Philly run to the World Series. Just imagine what pitching well on East Coast team, in the midst of a late-second half surge could do for Oswalt's legacy—not to mention Oswalt's competitive spirit. There is certainly more risk in Phillies chances of fulfilling Roy Oswalt's desires in 2010, but the opportunity to imprint himself on the national consciousness is great. Not to mention that at this point it is between staying in Houston to break Joe Niekro's record or assuredly pitching for a team that is likely to be in contention both in the present and in 2011 as well.
Immortality or a surer thing: it's Oswalt's choice.