I wrote an article the other day hoping that the Tigers would have interest in Roy Oswalt, so you know I am glad to hear that the Tigers may in fact have an interest.
It has been reported that the Tigers have contacted the Houston Astros about his availability, and I want to take that as a sign that Mike Illitch has answered my question with at least a maybe.
Maybe is a very good answer right now if the question was, can Illitch find Dombroski a spare 10 million or so?
Maybe could be a 50/50 thing, like "sure Dave, I can find five million if you can find a way to trim the other five million."
Or maybe could be, "Let's do it, the added revenue from more playoff games, larger crowds because we are in a pennant race, and additional jersey sales will off set a lot of that anyways."
Either way maybe means maybe.
Maybe, just maybe, Roy Oswalt could be coming to Detroit.
In the last article I discussed how the Tigers had a huge hole in their rotation and how adding a top pitcher should be on Dombrowski's mind.
But why Roy Oswalt?
Isn't he 32 years old and doesn't he have a 2-6 record this year?
Coming off a season where he was 8-6 with a career-high 4.12 ERA, why would we be willing to make that kind of commitment?
Leave it to you guys to ask the hard questions; let's see if I can find some answers.
First off, let us put that won-loss record thing to bed.
The Houston Astros are 15-29 and the bottom of the National League ranking in BA, R, HR, SLG Pct, and OBP, along with about 10 other offensive categories. That just might have something to do with it. The offense wasn't much better last year, so the won-loss record doesn't concern me.
What about that 32-year-old thing, do we really want someone in his declining years?
Baseball Reference does a thing where they compare a player to other players based on their stats throughout history and the top three matches were Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Tim Hudson. Actually his career has closely tracked Mussina since both were 26, and the comparisons don't have to end there.
A quick glance of the leader boards shows plenty of pitchers doing just fine in their 30s, and the number of postseason successes are pretty impressive. From Schilling to a couple of old teammates of Oswalt in Clemens and Pettitte, a veteran pitcher has made plenty of difference in the playoffs—after all, Kenny Rogers was 41 in 2006.
Even that 4.12 ERA in 2009 doesn't bother me.
While that was his career-high in ERA and the 181 innings were the fewest he has pitched since 2003, the rest of the numbers were right in line with what he has always done.
From the WHIP to the SO/W, ratio none of the results were a career-low and he is on pace to challenge his career bests in WHIP and SO/9 innings this year. He obviously still has good stuff.
Wasn't he injured last year?
He did only start 30 games last year after having some back and hip problems.
A MRI revealed a small disc issue in 2008 but these kind of issues are controllable and the problems he had were in late July last year and through the end of 2009 and into this season the only injury problem he has had was a little hamstring issues in training camp.
Oswald is old school, when it is his turn to pitch he wants the ball. Remember, this guy was electrocuted before he ever made the big leagues. Check out this interview .
Okay, that was the bad, what about the good?
How about a career average of 17-9, a 3.21 ERA, and 3.58 SO/W ratio?
In the nine years of his career. he has finished in the top five for Cy Young voting five times and, oh yeah, he is 4-0 in his seven playoff starts with an ERA of 3.66 and the 2005 NLCS MVP.
Oswalt is that bulldog, give-me-the-ball-type pitcher that seems to step up their game in a pennant chase and the perfect guy to hand the ball to if you need a win in a playoff series as he has pitched in big games and met the challenge head on numerous times.
A factor that shouldn't be overlooked is the steadying influence he should have on the rest of the staff. This is a very young rotation and a veteran can settle an entire staff.
Just think how much he could teach Porcello, who has very similar stuff. If he helps get Porcello out of his slump just five games sooner, that is still five more games the Tigers could win and the long-term impact on Porcello could be huge.
If Dombroski sat down and listed exactly who he would want to add to this pitching staff, Roy Oswalt would be in the top five, and that is without considering availability.
We hear Cliff Lee might be out there, but really, why would you prefer him over Oswalt anyways?
Just because he is a lefty?
He might not ever be available anyway, and he is a free agent in the offseason. Oswalt is due some $15 million next year, but do we really think Lee will sign for less?
Oswalt is available and the Tigers need to close the deal. An opportunity like this just doesn't happen very often.