It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Roy Oswalt would retire after this season due to his lingering back problems and his desire to be with his family. Oswalt's conversations throughout the season with Philadelphia Phillies beat reporters also made it seem as if his mind was made up.
Oswalt has made it clear since the end of the regular season that he is indeed intent on playing at least another three seasons.
The Phillies have players like Jimmy Rollins, Brad Lidge and Raul Ibanez coming off the books, but the team will need to either re-sign Ryan Madson or acquire another closer via free agency. A new contract for Cole Hamels is also looming.
Oswalt has a club option for next season at $16 million, with a $2 million buyout. It seems likely that the Phillies will buy out Oswalt, but that doesn't mean they will not bring him back at a lesser price.
Oswalt showed at the end of the season that his arm is still lively and he still has the action and life in his fastball that has made him the fifth active pitcher in career winning percentage.
Philadelphia still may have to deal with the possibility that Oswalt may be gone. Here are five possible replacements for Roy Oswalt if he is gone in 2012.