Chicago Cubs: Roy Oswalt Would Be a Great First Move for Theo Epstein

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IIOctober 26, 2011

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 05:  Starting pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies on the mound in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 5, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When the Philadelphia Phillies decided to decline their option with Roy Oswalt for the 2012 season, one of the most prolific pitchers entered the market. Oswalt will likely be highly sought after, but perhaps the man who was once a staple in the NL Central with the Houston Astros will find himself back in the division he built his career with in 2012.

Only this time, it could be with the Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs have many holes on their team. That is without a doubt a major problem for newly-acquired team President Theo Epstein. One of the main areas that need a quick fix is the pitching rotation. The Cubs are likely going to part ways with the troubled Carlos Zambrano. While the Cubs look to move Zambrano, they will also be looking to fill the hole that he will leave. 

In 2011, the only consistent starters the Cubs had were Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Matt Garza and Zambrano. With Zambrano likely gone, and perhaps Dempster, the Cubs are going to need to bring in a new No. 2 or 3 pitcher. Garza will likely be the Cubs' ace from here on out, while Andrew Cashner will hopefully come through and be the Cubs' No. 2 or 3, maybe even No. 4 if the Cubs make big enough moves this offseason.

The first place the Cubs should look to improve this pitching rotation would be Oswalt. There are many reasons for Oswalt being an attractive option for the Cubs, but none more important than that the guy has dominated the National League for the last 10 years. Oswalt's career ERA of 3.21 is insane, and would no doubt help the Cubs.

There is the argument that Oswalt is getting old, and that is true, but he definitely has at least three or four more solid seasons in him. Anything can happen with pitchers, but that is another highlight of Oswalt. He has stayed relatively healthy over his career. The 2011 season wasn't as kind, as Oswalt did find himself on the DL for quite some time, but that was extremely rare.

The only downside to Oswalt is that he pitches right handed, and the Cubs are in much need of left-handed support in their rotation. That being said, you don't pass on good pitching, no matter what side he is throwing from.

There is still a good chance that the Phillies bring Oswalt back, and they simply just didn't want to pick up the entire option due to his injury. It isn't a stretch to think that Oswalt will likely now want to test his value in free agency.

The Cubs shouldn't overpay for Oswalt, as the goal from here on out is to pay out smartly. The Cubs will need to get to Oswalt before players like CJ Wilson, CC Sabathia (given he opts out) and even possibly Brad Lidge sign their deals due to them setting a market value.

If the Chicago Cubs want to make a smart move, Epstein and Jed Hoyer should give Oswalt a hard look. They have a chance to bring in a solid pitcher, as well as great veteran to the change the shape of this locker room.

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