The Cincinnati Reds have been on a spending spree all offseason while attempting to compete for a World Series this year. The Reds’ window is closing with Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto’s contracts expiring soon rather than later.
A good way to put the Reds over the top would be to bring in pitcher Roy Oswalt. Cincinnati Enquirer Reds’ beat writer John Fay reports Oswalt is consider the Reds, among other teams he would like to play for next season.
Picking up Oswalt is a no-brainer for Cincinnati, especially if he has interest and considers the Reds to be a contender. The Reds would reportedly have to compete with the Texas Rangers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies for Oswalt’s services.
This is a completion the Reds can’t afford to lose. Oswalt is 34 years old, but still a great pitcher when his back is not keeping him out of games. He is also infamous for completely owning the Reds. All time, Oswalt is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA against Cincinnati.
The problem with pursuing Oswalt is money. Oswalt is reportedly looking for a $10 million deal in 2012, and that would be an issue for the Reds. The Reds claimed a few days ago to be “merely kicking the tires on Oswalt,” but the thought process has to be that other teams won’t pay him as much either.
Besides money, another issue complicating the signing is the facts the Reds already have six potential starters on the pitching staff. One would possibly have to be traded to make room for Oswalt, and another would be demoted to the minors or the bullpen. In all likelihood, the Reds would attempt to trade the big contracts of Bronson Arroyo or Homer Bailey.
Oswalt would make the Reds’ starting five one of the best in baseball. He isn’t an ace anymore, and would likely be the number three pitcher behind Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto. That would mean the Reds arguably have the best No. 3 pitcher in all of baseball.
Rounding out the rotation would likely be Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo, in no particular order. This leaves “The Cuban Missile” Aroldis Chapman as No. 6, either sent to the bullpen like last year or sent to AAA to continue to develop into a starting pitcher.
Oswalt is encountering roster and payroll issues every way he turns this late in the offseason. He either needs to lower his asking price or retire. Between the teams he is “interested” in, it almost seems as if he is conducting a race to see which team can clear space for him the fastest.
If the Reds are truly all-in with this new “win-now” philosophy, they need to win the Roy Oswalt race. Picking him up would give the Reds one of the better starting units in the MLB, and instantly make the Reds not only NL Central favorites, but World Series favorites as well.
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