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Roy Oswalt, Cardinals Linked In Trade Talks

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Such is the power of Twitter that a few hours after NBC Sports's Craig Calcaterra mentioned he'd heard that the Cardinals were the new front-runners in the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes that theoretical move had already begun to surpass the earlier Phillies move in the public consciousness. We're fickle, here on the internet. 

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As I said in a rare timely Viva El Birdos piece about Oswalt, as much as I like Oswalt—the way he pitches fast, the way he walks nobody, the way he is a constant reminder about the foolishness of pushing every sub-six-foot fireballer into the bullpen at 20—the Cardinals' salary structure is entirely unequipped to deal with paying yet another pitcher more than $10 million a year.

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That's a pretty expensive rotation to field in the first year of Pujols's megabucks contract-either that or the Cardinals basically trade Carpenter, whose 2012 contract has a $1 million buyout, for Oswalt, who supposedly is requiring any team that acquires him to trigger his own club option. In 2012 that's $69 million for the five people on this list whose name isn't Albert Pujols.

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So either Oswalt defers a lot of money, Kyle Lohse announces he's leaving baseball to join the Peace Corps, Albert Pujols decides $16 million sounds about right after all, or this trade doesn't work financially for the Cardinals. I love Roy Oswalt as a pitcher; he throws hard, he works fast, he's got an array of pitches but always knows when to go back to the fastball. But his contract just doesn't fit.

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And that's without bringing the players the Cardinals would trade into the discussion. Shelby Miller's a long way away-he threw five scoreless innings and struck out eight last night-and risky, too, but if you're going to trade Miller you can probably get better players with less-onerous contracts coming back in the deal.

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