After both the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds took well-publicized passes at Roy Oswalt in the offseason, Oswalt, still intent on pitching in 2012, remains the best free-agent pitching commodity.
Meanwhile, several rotations are suffering due to injury, ineptitude, or both. Other rotations are performing well, but are unlikely to sustain that performance.
Here are five teams that could look into the 34-year-old pitcher.
I am well aware that the Dodgers are 18-9, atop their division, and 10th in the league in ERA with a pair of shutouts.
However, Aaron Harang is 1-2 with a 5.72 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. And I don’t find it particularly likely that Chris Capuano, who has a career losing record and 4.31 ERA, can sustain the pace he’s current at.
Because of this, don’t cross the Dodgers off the list of possible Oswalt destinations.
The Boston Red Sox are 11-15 and second to last in team ERA; third to last in OPS allowed.
None of the Red Sox starters have a sub-4.00 ERA, Daisuke is on the DL, and the Red Sox are having trouble making up their mind about having Daniel Bard in the rotation or the bullpen.
What with the bullpen troubles with Andrew Bailey and Mark Melançon, it'd be better to move Bard into the 'pen and throw Oswalt in the rotation.
The Twins are last in team ERA, and dead last in starters’ ERA with 6.70, almost a run more than any other team. They are also dead last in strikeouts by a wide margin.
With being 28th in team runs scored and 25th in team OPS on the other side of the ball, it’s not surprising that they are 7-19 and last in an AL Central they could have been competitive in.
Both Carl Pavano (4.62 ERA, 2-2) and Francisco Liriano (9.97 ERA, 0-4) are underperforming, and none of the Twins’ remaining starters were particularly good to begin with.
The one drawback to the Twins? It would be Oswalt’s first stint in the American League.
It's hard to pitch in Coors Field, but it shouldn't be as hard as the Rockies pitchers are making it.
The Rockies once had a good rotation, but Ubaldo Jimenez was dealt last season, Jorge De La Rosa and Jeremy Guthrie are on the DL, and Jhoulys Chacin, winless since late August and with a 7.30 ERA this season, was demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs after an 0-3 start.
The best pitcher left for the Rockies is Jamie Moyer, who is 1-2 this season, to say nothing of being 49 years old. None in the Rockies’ rotation has a sub-4.00 ERA.
Could this team use Oswalt? You betcha!
The San Diego Padres didn’t have a great starting rotation going into the season. Then, within the last week-and-a-half, Cory Luebke went out with a torn ligament in the elbow that could keep him out for the season, and closer Huston Street was also hurt.
Considering how anemic the Padres’ hitting is (.220 AVG and .641 OPS with none of the regular lineup over .290; 27th in runs), the Padres need better pitching performances than they’re getting.
Aside from the injured Luebke, the Padres starters are 3-12 with a 4.07 ERA
Even with Tim Stauffer coming back after being injured all this season, the Padres desperately need another arm.
And with the second-lowest payroll in baseball, the Padres desperately need to shell out to get one. Which is why San Diego is tops on my destinations for Oswalt.