Roy Oswalt is an adopted Texan; he’s spent much of his career in Houston and had great success with the Astros. Now, he is a free agent and rumors have it that the Texas Rangers are pursuing him and pondering offering him a contract.
But the thing is the Rangers don’t need him, as for once in the history of the franchise they have enough starting pitching.
It doesn’t make much sense to bring in Oswalt for $8 million and add to the team’s already high salary total, when instead they could plug a young pitcher—who has earned an opportunity—like Matt Harrison in that spot.
The Rangers are set at the top of the rotation. They have the steady Colby Lewis, newly signed Japanese export Yu Darvish and budding star Derek Holland slotted into the first three spots.
They also have an abundance of options at the bottom end of the rotation.
Neftali Feliz will be given an opportunity to become a starting pitcher this season, after being an all-star closer for the franchise the last two years. While he needs to develop a second and third pitch to complement his electric fastball, his incredible stuff is too tempting not to plug into the rotation.
The team’s opening day starter from three years ago, Scott Feldman, will also get an opportunity to compete for a spot. He struggled in the starter’s role two years ago after an injury, but this past season he was a steady presence as the long man, with a 3.94 ERA. He was also a strong performer in the team’s run to the World Series.
Harrison is also pushing for a role in the starting five and has the numbers to back up his claim. He went 14-9 last season with a 3.39 ERA, and often overpowered hitters with a newly found 95 mph fastball.
Alexi Ogando also deserves a look, as he made the All Star Game last season as a starter. But the Rangers feel that he would be more effective in a role out of the bullpen, like he was during the postseason when he was almost unhittable in the playoffs.
Those names don’t even include top prospects like Martin Perez or Michael Kirkman, both of whom could make a compelling argument for a role on the team with a strong spring training.
As great as a player as Roy Oswalt has been throughout his career, there is no reason to sign an older pitcher if you’re the Rangers, and impede the progress of your developing talent.