Roy Oswalt has been unable to find a contract in the offseason, so he is taking a slightly different approach to landing a contract with a good team.
According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Oswalt has expressed a willingness to wait until the season begins to sign with a team.
Oswalt, 34, has told teams that he plans to keep throwing, stay ready and would be willing to return during the season if nothing materializes before then. That approach would mirror what Clemens did in 2006 and 2007, when he returned in June to pitch for the Houston Astros and then the New York Yankees.
This was also confirmed by ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, who got this confirmation from Bob Garber, Oswalt's agent.
Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, said Oswalt will continue to work out and plans to pitch for a contender later in the season. The Clemens model— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) February 23, 2012
What it means?
It means that Oswalt is a very smart man. The example cited by Crasnick shows that teams will move on a big-name pitcher when something doesn't go according to plan.
Oswalt has a decorated past and is not an old man by any means. This doesn't necessarily bolster his chances of getting signed before the season begins (though it can certainly still happen), but Oswalt will certainly be picked up in the middle of the season. In all likelihood, he'll get a lot more than the market is dictating right now.
The season is still more than a month away from starting. While pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training already, there is still plenty of time for a team to sign Oswalt.
But if that doesn't happen, Oswalt's value is going to be bolstered without him doing anything. It isn't going to take long for a key pitcher on a team to get hurt or for the lack of pitching depth to show for a would-be contender.
Teams that are forced to adjust to something that's already happened on the field are likely to be desperate. They know Oswalt can still pitch, so they will be a lot more likely to give him a nice, prorated contract. This can also be literally any team in the league.