Minnesota Twins: 7 Reasons Roy Oswalt in Minnesota Makes Sense
According to Baseball-Reference.com there have been 386 free agent signings since the end of last season and yet, Oswalt, the top remaining free-agent pitcher has not signed with a team.
I'm incredibly surprised that the 11-year veteran has taken this long to sign with a team.
Since the end of last season I have been hoping the Twins would make at least one move of significance—and so far this has not happened.
The hope of a Twins turnaround is hinging on the healthy return of catcher Joe Mauer, first baseman Justin Morneau, center fielder Denard Span and starting pitchers Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn.
Sure, the Twins have made some moves, but these are more to plug the holes left behind from those free agents lost than anything else.
While it seems to very unlikely that Oswalt will end up in St. Louis, here are seven really good reasons he would fit with the Twins.
It Pushes Nick Blackburn from the Rotation
Right now the Twins have a full rotation.
The projected five starters for Minnesota right now are Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Jason Marques and Nick Blackburn.
If the Twins could sign Oswalt that would most likely push Blackburn out—a double bonus for the Twins.
In five seasons Blackburn has yet to have a winning season. His career record is 39-46 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.
He's a Winner
In his 11 major league seasons, Roy Oswalt has only had one losing record as a starting pitcher, and only twice did his team finish with a winning percentage lower than .500.
He brings real credibility to a rotation that needs it, especially after Twins starters posted a 46-71 record last season with a 4.64 ERA.
Instantly Becomes the Twins Ace of the Pitching Staff
The last two seasons Carl Pavano has been the closest thing to an ace that the Twins have had.
While pitching for the Twins he has a 31-28 record with a 4.11 ERA in 77 starts. Over his 13-year career Pavano has a 106-102 record and a 4.33 ERA.
Compare that to Roy Oswalt who is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA over 11 seasons. Granted, he has yet to pitch in the American League, and is used to facing a designated hitter regularly.
The Move Bolsters a Weak Bullpen
Last season the Minnesota Twins had the worst bullpen in the American League.
After losing Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crane to free agency following the 2010 season, the Twins bullpen had a combined ERA of 4.51 ERA last season, up from 3.49 in 2010.
Over his career, Roy Oswalt has averaged 196 innings pitched per year.
Combine that with the 214 innings pitched Pavano has thrown over the past three seasons, and that decreases the number of appearances needed from the bullpen, helping the Twins immensely.
Roy Oswalt Will Have No Competition from the Rest of the Staff
As previously noted, Roy Oswalt has only had one season where he lost more games than he won.
It just happened to be 2011 while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on a staff with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
This trio went 50-23 and the highest ERA was 2.79. Oswalt's 3.69 ERA was the highest for the Phillies starting rotation.
If he had pitched for the Twins in 2011, his ERA would have been second only to Scott Baker's 3.14.
Oswalt would not have to worry about being compared unfavorably with any other starter in the rotation.
He Brings Postseason Experience to a Staff with Very Little
The Twins' projected starting rotation has a combined 71.2 innings pitched in the post season.
Over his career Roy Oswalt has 72.1 postseason innings pitched. In 13 games he has a 5-2 record with a 3.73 ERA.
This experience would be critical if the Twins are able to quickly turn things around and make it to the playoffs in 2012.
Terry Ryan Could Make His First Major Move
The Minnesota Twins will be playing in only their third season at Target Field this year.
The Twins need it to be more like the inaugural season when they won 94 games.
If Terry Ryan could pull of this deal and find a way to sign Roy Oswalt, it would immediately provide a life to the Twins and their fan base.
It won't be easy, but perhaps Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Carl Pavano could take a Twins' private jet and meet with Oswalt at his ranch in Mississippi and convince him to play in the American League for the Minnesota Twins.