Oswalt, Astros agree to 5-year, $73 million extension

HOUSTON -- Roy Oswalt got a $73 million birthday present
from the Houston Astros.

The two-time 20-game winner agreed to a five-year, $73 million
contract extension on his 29th birthday Tuesday, the biggest
multiyear deal ever given to an Astros pitcher.

Oswalt, the MVP of the 2005 NL Championship Series, passed up a
chance to become a free agent after the 2007 season and is now
under Houston's control through 2011. He is currently in the second
year of a two-year, $16.9 million contract that pays him $11
million this season.

His new deal, which has a no-trade clause and an option for a
sixth year, will pay Oswalt $13 million in each of the next two
seasons and $14 million in 2009. He will get $15 million in 2010
and $16 million in 2011.

The Astros hold a $16 million option for 2012 with a $2 million
buyout. Or, Oswalt could opt out of that year and take a smaller

"This is a big step for the organization and a big step for Roy
and his family to commit to us as we have committed to him,"
Houston general manager Tim Purpura said. "We're happy to keep Roy
under our control at least five years and hopefully six years and
hopefully take us to another few World Series."

The right-hander is 10-8 with a 3.25 ERA in 27 games this
season. He is 93-47 in six seasons in Houston.

The Astros were said to have listened to trade offers for Oswalt
before the July 31 deadline, including one report that indicated
they offered him as part of a proposed deal for Baltimore shortstop
Miguel Tejada.

"I think it's an honor to be here," Oswalt said. "I told my
agent, Bob [Garber], that I really wanted to stay in Houston. If we
could get something done, I'd love to stay here."

An emotional Oswalt fought back tears as he said his father was
the first person he called after agreeing to the deal.

"He's my life. The things he's done for me growing up, he's
been tremendous," Oswalt said. "Hopefully, now I can put them out
of work. I've been waiting on this day."

Oswalt's wife, Nicole, and almost 2-year-old daughter, Arlee
Faith, attended the news conference, at which McLane presented him
with a large birthday cake.

Arlee was clad in a black tank top bedecked with Oswalt's No. 44
in sparkling crystals on it, and she interrupted the event several
times by squeaking "there's daddy."

By winning 20 games last season, Oswalt became the first pitcher
in the major leagues to post 20 wins in consecutive seasons since
Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it in 2001 and 2002. It was
also the first time an Astros pitcher had achieved the feat since
Joe Niekro in 1979 and 1980.

Oswalt gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings Tuesday
night against Milwaukee but did not get a decision. He won two
games in the 2005 NLCS against St. Louis, including the clincher in
Game 6 to send the Astros to their first World Series.

"No one lights up better than Roy," Astros owner Drayton
McLane said. "Remember that sixth game in St. Louis and how
magnificent that was? Roy was the dominating person in that game
that lifted us to something we've never achieved before. We know
the best is yet to come."