The flaws that this team has—for whatever playoff run they may make—are harder to fix than by just picking up an expensive pitcher for twenty starts in a league he is not familiar with.
While the Texas Rangers made a good deal today in signing the 34-year-old veteran for $5 million guaranteed, the Rangers are also in much better shape to win their third American League pennant than Boston is to make the playoffs.
Yes, the Red Sox rotation would be better off with Oswalt than without, and if beleaguered starter Daisuke Matsusaka can return to the rotation sooner than later, then perhaps Daniel Bard could have been sent back to close and shore up an improving bullpen.
Injuries, however, have taken their toll again with this club, and the best thing the Red Sox can do is just to wait them out and finally get a true sense on where this team is overall.
Oswalt is a Southern guy. Born in Mississippi, the bulk of his career was spent with the Astros. While he put up magnificent numbers after being traded to the Phillies in 2010, he stumbled last season watching his ERA go up nearly a run from a 2.76 combined with Houston and Philadelphia to a 3.69 with Philly.
While the Baltimore Orioles will probably not hang on to their lead in the AL East, the Red Sox just do not have the horses to make a deep run in October with or without Oswalt.
Their starting pitching has indeed improved from an awful April as Felix Doubront continues to surprise out of the fourth spot in the rotation, but Clay Buchholz seems to be having a "Jekyll and Hyde" season going, and there is little protection for the rotation as a whole if any of the five starters get hurt.
Add in all the outfield injuries—did you really think to yourself in March that Adrian Gonzalez would actually be a decent right fielder?—and where would be the incentive for Oswalt to come to Boston?
On the off chance August rolls around and the Sox actually find themselves within a handful of games for a wild card, then taking a chance on a short-term player rental makes sense.
Considering that there will be players traded away this year, on the other hand, makes the notion of signing Roy Oswalt a rather silly one.
There is always next year.