After Roy Oswalt’s 2011 season was derailed by back injuries, it was unclear whether he would make a return to the majors. Now, his price tag of $7.5 million is keeping teams away, and it seems as though we won't see him until probably July.
With Halladay’s sudden departure due to shoulder tenderness, one may wonder whether the Phillies will seek to re-sign Oswalt to fill the hole suddenly created in their rotation.
With Neftali Feliz being place on the DL with a sprained elbow ligament, the Rangers seem ready to negotiate with Oswalt, but have not been able to find him a spot in their rotation. Given this apparent roadblock, the Phillies need to intercede and sign him. Here’s why:
Oswalt is Still an Elite Pitcher
Ever since his days with the Astros, Oswalt has thrown hard and worked fast between pitches. His fastball is in the low to mid-90s, and he is aggressive on the mound, challenging hitters high in the zone.
He was not throwing as hard in Philly as he was in Houston, but he nonetheless helped anchor the Phillies’ starting rotation and was one of several aces on that staff. Yes, he averaged a career-low six strikeouts per game last season in Philadelphia, but despite that drop in strikeouts, he was still a formidable pitcher.
Given Halladay’s sudden departure due to shoulder soreness, the Phillies need to sign Oswalt fast to ensure that they don’t get left behind the other members of the NL East. He would work well with the Phillies, and he would provide just enough of an edge for them to climb out of last in the division's standings.
Oswalt’s Price is Negotiable
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Oswalt declined large contracts from the Detroit Tigers during the winter and told the Red Sox he wasn't interested. He had hoped the Rangers and the Cardinals would display some interest. His steep price tag of $7.5 million is keeping those teams away, though. For half a season of work and potential questions regarding his health, most teams are unwilling to pay full price.
If the Phillies can offer him something along the lines of maybe $1.5-2 million for the rest of this season, they could add a large amount stability to their rotation, as well provide an incentive for Oswalt to pitch well. And if he can amass some good numbers in the next half of the season, he will most likely be able to enter negotiations for a contract that is more lucrative.
At this point, the man just wants to pitch.
The Phillies can make a run for the NL East crown. They have the advantage and need to exercise it.
The NL East is the Right Division for Oswalt
Despite his time away from the game, he will make an immediate impact in the NL East. Even though the Phillies are in last place, they still have a winning record (25-24) and are only five games behind the first-place Washington Nationals (29-18).
Halladay, despite his departure in Sunday’s game, leads the National League with an ERA of 3.56. Oswalt can definitely create similar numbers for now and patch up the hole in the rotation until team doctors can diagnose the severity of Halladay’s injury.