It all made perfect sense for Dodgers fans.
With new ownership on its way and an underwhelming pitching staff to begin the season, the presence of Roy Oswalt in free agency seemed too appealing to pass up. Having not found a place to pitch by opening day, Oswalt announced he would wait a couple of months before deciding where he would play in 2012.
While his numbers were still very good last season (3.69 ERA), two separate stints on the disabled list left some teams questioning how much he had left in the tank.
For the Dodgers, their offseason pitching problem was solved by the signing of Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, however neither pitcher brought much excitement to town. Capuano was a 33-year-old with two Tommy John surgeries in his past who had made just 40 starts since 2007.
Even more alarming, however, was his lack of effectiveness in those 40 starts, posting an ERA of 4.39.
Harang on the other hand, was coming off of a career year with the Padres in the friendly confines of Petco Park, where he posted a career-low 3.64 ERA. It was the first time since 2007 that his ERA dipped below 4.21.
So with the fourth and fifth spots filled by underwhelming newcomers, optimistic fans dreamt of Oswalt in Dodgers blue.
Then, the improbable happened.
With his first full season in four years behind him, Capuano has been incredible in 2012. In 10 starts, the southpaw is 7-1 with an ERA of 2.14 and a WHIP of 1.00, all numbers that rank him among the league leaders.
While Harang has been less impressive (3-3, 4.14 ERA), he has still managed to post five quality starts and given the Dodgers a chance to win ball games.
Although Oswalt would be a definite upgrade over the likes of Harang, and insurance in case the injury to Ted Lilly were more serious, the real reason I don't think the Dodgers needed Oswalt was because of the youth throughout their system.
Take tonight's starter, Nathan Eovaldi, for example. The 22-year-old right-hander was surprisingly effective in his first taste of the big leagues last season, finishing with an ERA of 3.09 in six starts.
The other young arm who could use some experience is Rubby De La Rosa.
Like Eovaldi, De La Rosa got his first taste of the major leagues in 2011 and was a bright spot in an otherwise depressing season. In 10 starts, De La Rosa notched a 3.91 ERA and a K/9 ratio of 8.97.
Unfortunately, De La Rosa's season ended prematurely when he needed to get Tommy John surgery, however there have been positive reports hinting that he might be able to return around the all-star break (see: notes at bottom).
So sure, it's disappointing to hear that the Dodgers apparently made an offer to Oswalt and came up empty, losing out to the Texas Rangers, but there are positives everywhere in this situation. First of all, the idea that the Dodgers are pursuing someone like this indicates the new direction of this ownership group, and secondly, the Dodgers have a couple young guns that are ready to pave the way for a new future.
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