In the immortal words of The Doors, the time to hesitate is through.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote this morning that veteran free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt is down to just two teams: the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. For whatever reason, Oswalt remains reluctant to sign with Boston.
Apparently the Red Sox have an offer sitting on the table for Oswalt in the $5 million to $7 million range to pitch for the club in 2012. It is no secret that Oswalt's asking price was once $10 million this winter. While teams have been waiting him out, his price has dropped adversely.
The puzzling piece to Red Sox fans is, why is Oswalt so against pitching in Boston?
The Red Sox are perennial contenders, have a rich history and most importantly, have a need for him—unlike his preferred team, the Texas Rangers.
In the same Cafardo piece, Cafardo cite's a veteran baseball official familiar with Oswalt stating:
“He’s definitely a little different. He needs to be in a place where he feels comfortable, and he probably hasn’t spent too much time in Boston.’’
As an individual who was born in Mississippi and played most of his Major League career in Houston, a major market with a minimally relevant team over the past 10 years, Oswalt did show his ability to pitch in a high-pressure environment last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He managed a 9-10 record with a 3.69 ERA and 1.338 WHIP in 23 starts.
What this tells me is that the team is declaring their willingness to spend the money. It is apparent that they may need to up their offer to reel in Oswalt. I think it is time to give him the $10 million he was looking for and end the stalemate.
If the Red Sox should add Oswalt, the team can be praised for having a successful winter. They added two bullpen arms (both capable of closing) in Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon, while adding two outfielders in Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney and also adding a slew of potential starting pitchers.
Reality check time: the Red Sox don't need a whole lot to be a complete team. Oswalt is really just the piece they need. It is time to show the man the money and reel him in. With a front four consisting of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Oswalt the Sox would immediately be back in the conversation of being the team to beat in the AL East.
Until then, they're just sitting back and wasting time. Stop the stalemate. Bring in Oswalt and get the deal done.