Last week, it was announced that right-handed starting pitcher Roy Oswalt requested a trade from the Houston Astros.

The three teams that were rumored to be the favorites for Oswalt were the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are believed to be interested as well.

However, some Yankee fans wondered and speculated if Oswalt would come to the Yankees, or if they could get a decent package together worthy enough to get Oswalt. One writer on here even did a column centering around a package that included Javier Vazquez and prospects to get Oswalt, which many of you thought of as unreasonable and unlikely, a feeling I shared as well.

Today, according to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees all but killed any rumor of involving themselves in the Oswalt chase. Heyman said one Yankees official told him that, “we like our rotation the way it is right now.”

It makes sense that the Yankees wouldn’t need to pursue a starting pitcher right now given how well their rotation has been.

Andy Pettitte is 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA, A.J. Burnett is 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA, Phil Hughes is 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA, CC Sabathia is 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA and Javier Vazquez is 3-4 with a 6.69 ERA (23-11 overall record for the five Yankee starters).

A lot of people wondered if Vazquez was going to be removed from the rotation after his 1-4 start, but he’s been very strong in his last three outings, one of which was a relief appearance against the Red Sox. In his last start, he kept the Mets to one hit over six scoreless innings for his third win of 2010.

If Vazquez is starting to come around for the Yankees, then they really won’t need to pursue pitching, especially after they re-acquired Chad Gaudin yesterday.  Gaudin will be in the bullpen for now, but can be an emergency starter if needed.

With the Oswalt speculation out of the way, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal did bring up an interesting point in his story yesterday.

If and when Cliff Lee becomes a free agent, the Yankees would be more interested in pursuing Lee after the 2010 season, rather than parting with prospects right now in order to get Oswalt.

This tactic from the Yankees is nothing new, and if anything, it’s a smart one and the right move.

We know how well Cliff Lee can pitch in the American League and in the big games. All you need to do is re-visit Games One and Five of the 2009 World Series where Lee won both against the Yankees, and Game One was a complete-game gem at Yankee Stadium.

We don’t know how well Roy Oswalt would pitch in the American League and especially in the American League Playoffs because he has spent his entire career in the National League with Houston.

Since the Braves, Cardinals and Nationals came up, a lot of people feel like Oswalt is more comfortable pitching in the National League, rather than moving to the American League.

Plus, there have been multiple sources that have said that Oswalt doesn’t want to come to New York, whether it be with the Yankees or Mets.

Now, we are also two months away from the July 31 trading deadline. As of right now, the Mariners, currently in last place of the A.L. West at 18-28, are not shopping Lee. At least not right now, considering things can change in two months.

If Lee did get dealt somewhere else, like the Dodgers, who have made inquiries to Seattle, it could change things in the offseason, but a lot of people feel that Lee will test the market to get a major payday before the 2011 Season.

All of this seems like it’s so far away since it’s the end of May and baseball season is only two months in, but given that this could very well be Pettitte’s last season and Vazquez will be a free agent next season, the Yankees will be looking to replenish the rotation in the future.

They have done this thing before, such as when they decided to sign Sabathia in free agency over trading for Johan Santana and then signing him long-term, like the Mets had to do.

Right now, the sights of the Yankees is on the 2010 season. But deep somewhere in the back of their head, Lee’s availability is floating around.

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