5 MLB Teams That Should Target Roy Oswalt
After reportedly turning down a one-year, $10 million offer from the Detroit Tigers last January, it appeared that veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt might just be ready to ride off into the sunset after an 11-year big-league career that saw him win 159 games and appear in three All-Star games.
However, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Oswalt recently worked out for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox and hopes to be back in the majors by June 15, and here's a look at a handful of clubs that should be interested in helping him make that happen.
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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Phillies recently sent representatives to watch Oswalt throw in a bullpen session near his home in Mississippi. It's doubtful that they did so just to catch up with an old friend, so it's safe to say that the Phillies have some interest.
Oswalt went 9-10 for the Phillies last year with a 3.69 ERA, so the team has some familiarity with him and he with them, and while his record doesn't show it, Oswalt didn't pitch badly in the City of Brotherly Love a year ago.
Philadelphia is presently mired in last place in the National League East, and Vance Worley is on the disabled list with elbow issues that the Philadelphia Inquirer reports will require offseason surgery (if he makes it that long).
The Phillies are in serious need of pitching help before the 2012 season completely gets away from them.
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In what can only viewed as yet another sign of the Mayan Apocalypse, the Baltimore Orioles are presently in first place in the American League East, sitting at 12 games over .500 entering Wednesday's action and holding onto a two-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, the Orioles' starting pitching has been mediocre at best to this point, ranking 10th in the American League with an ERA of 4.27.
Granted, the Orioles are something of a dark horse in this race, but not only would Oswalt be a badly needed shot in the arm for the Baltimore rotation, but he would send a message to the Orioles fanbase that the team is serious about making a run in 2012.
Boston Red Sox
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The Boston Red Sox are playing sub-.500 baseball and currently residing in the cellar of the AL East. That's thanks in large part to a starting rotation that's gotten good at watching opposing hitters rotate the bases, allowing over five runs a game.
As we stated earlier, the Red Sox were one of the teams that reportedly traveled to watch Oswalt throw, a claim that Boston general manager Ben Cherington did not dispute, according to Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
Clay Buchholz's ERA is hovering around 8.00, and he's walked as many hitters as he's struck out. That, coupled with the fact that no one's really sure what Daisuke Matsuzaka will look when he rejoins the team later this summer, makes improving the starting rotation a priority if Boston is going to get back into it in the AL East.
New York Yankees
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One would think that the Red Sox's current woes would have fans of the New York Yankees dancing in the streets. However, the Bronx Bombers have plenty of issues of their own, sitting just one game ahead of Boston with a starting rotation that possesses a bloated 4.88 ERA.
Granted, the loss of closer Mariano Rivera for the season with a torn ACL may seem the more pressing need to some. With that said, however, C.C. Sabathia has been single-handedly carrying the Yankees rotation, and a pace of over seven innings and 110 pitches a start is going to be hard for the rotund 31-year-old to maintain as the season progresses.
The return of Andy Pettite to the Yankees should help the rotation somewhat, but the addition of Oswalt would be an even bigger boost.
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Unfortunately for all the other teams on this list that could use Oswalt, there seems to be a clear front-runner for Oswalt's services, and that team appears to be the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers.
The Rangers presently sit in first place in the American League West, fives games in front of the Oakland A's, and the 3.66 ERA of their starting rotation is a very respectable fourth in the AL.
On the other hand, the elbow injury that landed Neftali Feliz on the disabled list may sideline him until the All-Star break (at least), leaving a hole in the rotation that many rival executives think the Rangers will plug with Oswalt, according to a tweet by ESPN's Buster Olney.
Full expectation among some rival execs is that Roy Oswalt will land with Texas, because of connection with Maddux, Ryan, proximity to Miss.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 23, 2012
For his part, Rangers manager Ron Washington told ESPN Radio via ESPN Dallas that he would be "interested" in adding a healthy Oswalt, but the Texas skipper said "I think (GM) Jon Daniels and them will decide."