10 Bold Predictions for Roy Oswalt as a Texas Ranger

Brandon Tripp@BrandonJayTrippContributor IIIMay 30, 2012

10 Bold Predictions for Roy Oswalt as a Texas Ranger

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    The Texas Rangers made an unsurprising yet intriguing move by signing free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt for the rest of the season.

    Clearly the addition of Oswalt gives the Rangers the potential to be one of the best rotations in baseball for the rest of the season. 

    But what exactly will Oswalt accomplish with the reigning two-time American League Champions?

    Here are 10 predictions for Roy Oswalt as a Texas Ranger. 

He Will Not Make His First Start Until After the All-Star Break

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    Roy Oswalt will start pitching in the minors sometime within the next week, and the assumed timetable is somewhere around a month for his major league debut with Texas.

    But Texas is sinking $5 million into Oswalt and is going to do its due diligence to make sure he is rid of his back problems before calling him up to the big club. 

    Moreover, there is a big difference between pitching practice and pitching a live game.

    He will probably start four or five games in AAA Round Rock before Texas even considers bringing him up and letting him make an appearance or two.

    The Rangers are not going to rush him back to the Majors, considering his injury history and the money they are sinking into the former All-Star. 

Oswalt Will Win at Least 10 Games This Season

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    There is a reason they are called bold predictions! Assuming he doesn’t make a start until after the All-Star break, Oswalt will probably get between 15 or 16 starts in the second half of the season.

    So it seems outrageous that he will rack up 10 wins in so few tries, especially considering his back problems over the last couple of seasons.

    But the benefit of pitching for Texas is that you don’t have to be your best every game when your offense is averaging nearly six runs per game. 

    If Oswalt can stay healthy, the offense will help him get through the adjustment period, and he will win at least 10 games this season.

Oswalt Will Have a Home ERA of at Least 4.5

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    While you have to attribute some of his woes in Texas to the lineup he has to face, there is still no denying that his 4.94 ERA in Arlington is some cause for concern.

    In eight starts at the Ballpark in Arlington, Oswalt has allowed fewer than three runs just twice, and he has allowed seven and six earned runs in his last two starts respectively.

    He also gave up two homers in each of those two starts.

    Again, yes, this has to do with the lineup he was facing, but the American League is stacked with power-hitting lineups and he will struggle against those lineups as well. 

The Rangers Will Now Try to Trade Scott Feldman or Koji Uehara

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    Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels had to get ownership approval to sign Oswalt because Texas is already over-budget on its team salary this year.

    My guess is that one of the conditions to saying yes to Oswalt was that the front office will have to at least try to move some money to get its salary back down.

    Koji Uehara was already in trade talks at the beginning of the season and was traded to Toronto before he exercised his no-trade clause. His $4 million would almost offset the money it took to sign Oswalt.

    Scott Feldman might also be traded because of his $6.5 million, and with the addition of Oswalt, he is likely to be sent back to the pen and spot duties. 

The Rangers Will Win Their First World Series with Oswalt

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    The biggest question mark for the Rangers coming into the season was the relatively young pitching staff.

    The signing of Roy Oswalt coupled with the flexibility Texas now has—with Neftali Feliz when he returns—given the Rangers the deepest pitching staff in baseball by far, both in the rotation and in the bullpen.

    How this helps in the postseason has been seen in each of the last two World Series for Texas. Pitching wins championships.

    In both World Series appearances over the last two seasons, Texas got beat by better pitching. It is the silver bullet in the playoffs, and Texas now has the biggest and shiniest bullet in the MLB

Oswalt in the Rotation Will Put Neftali Feliz Back in the Bullpen

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    The arrival of Oswalt creates a lot of questions for manager Ron Washington when it comes to who gets to stay in the rotation. Scott Feldman will move back to the bullpen when Oswalt makes it to the big leagues, but who will follow?

    Neftali Feliz is the best choice to head back into the pen.

    It seems like bad form to tell a young pitcher he is going to start and then put him back in the pen halfway through the season, but Alexi Ogando went through the same thing last season and was phenomenal for Texas out of the pen.

    If Feliz does go back into the bullpen, he would likely share the setup duties with Mike Adams to give Texas even more options at the end of games than they already have. 

The Signing of Oswalt Is an Indicator Texas Is Preparing to Lose Josh Hamilton

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    There is one thing that this move tells Rangers fans in a subtle way.

    The Rangers are preparing for the possibility of losing Josh Hamilton and are doing everything possible to go after a World Series this year while they still have him.

    This doesn’t mean the Rangers aren’t going to try to sign him, but the front office has shown that it will not exceed its comfort level when it comes to salary negotiations with the team's top players.

    While everyone, including Jon Daniels, hopes that Hamilton will re-sign, there is a possibility he won’t. But signing Roy Oswalt gives the Rangers an even better chance to lock up a World Series title this season while Hamilton is still around. 

Oswalt Will Be the No. 1 Starter in the Postseason

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    Coming into the season, the Rangers were seen as a team without a true ace, which is something you don't often see in a World Series contender. 

    The signing of Roy Oswalt gives Texas a legitimate No. 1 starter for both the regular season and the postseason. 

    Colby Lewis has been great for the Rangers in the past two postseasons as a secondary pitcher, going 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. The addition of Oswalt allows Ron Washington to put Lewis in the No. 2 spot, a place he is much more familiar with. 

    Other than his atrocious start last postseason when he was battling back problems, Oswalt has been an excellent postseason pitcher. 

Oswalt Will Pitch at Least 100 Innings in the Regular Season

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    In a full season, a major league starter is generally expected to go at least 200 innings of the course of the year.

    Since Oswalt is pitching just half a season, 100 innings should be his goal.

    Despite his injury history and the fact that he hasn’t pitched a major league game since last October, 100 innings seems a little far-fetched.

    But with so many months of rest, the back that has ailed him over the past year has had plenty of time to heal, so those injuries shouldn’t be a problem.

    Oswalt will have to average about 6.2 innings per outing, assuming he gets 15 starts. That is perfectly attainable for him if he can stay healthy. 

Texas Will Re-Sign Oswalt in the Offseason

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    Oswalt is going to be 35 by the end of the season and has yet to score that elusive championship ring. If he can't get it done this season, you can bet he is going to take another shot next year.

    Texas is close to home and has one of the youngest and most talented teams in baseball.

    According to CBS Sports' Scott Miller, Oswalt turned down at least three more lucrative deals to sign with the Rangers this season per a source familiar with the talks.

    Texas is built to be good for years to come with all of the young players it has locked up to long-term deals.

    If Oswalt does decide to return, it makes sense to come back to Texas for the same reasons he signed with the team in the first place.