MLB Free Agent Rumors: The Roy Oswalt Saga Continues

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIFebruary 3, 2012

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image was shot with a colored gel on lights) Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at Bright House Networks Field on February 22, 2011 in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Apparently the Texas Rangers are out of the Roy Oswalt race.  

A baseball source informed Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star that the Rangers were unlikely to sign the veteran hurler.

Oswalt has been clear that the two teams he would prefer to pitch for have been the Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. He has already turned down an offer from the Detroit Tigers, and has explicitly told Toronto and Cleveland that he has no desire to pitch for them.

Of his preferred teams to pitch for, that leaves just the Cardinals. However, both the Cards and the Boston Red Sox have made similar offers to Oswalt, in the form of a one-year, $5 million contract. This is below the $10 million that he is currently seeking. It is rumored that the Cards are trying to free up some payroll by shopping Kyle McClellan, and his $2.5 million salary.

Enter the Boston Red Sox. Could they be a dark horse in this race?

While general manager Ben Cherington has been saying all the right things to lead fans to assume the shopping is done, the team could be a lot closer than most think to acquiring Oswalt.

With a recent assessment of the team's current status of financial obligations showing that they are already over the luxury tax threshold, what would it hurt to add $3-5 million now, and obtain Oswalt and try to shed payroll later?

If the righty expects to make $5 million or more, his best chances are with Boston. If he so desires to pitch for St. Louis, he could be waiting for quite some time to sign, giving all the leverage to the Cards.

With just over two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, the clock is ticking for Oswalt.