February 29, 2012 by Matt Musico
It has been an interesting off-season for free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. Coming off of a so-so season with the Philadelphia Phillies, which was highlighted with a back injury, limited the starter to only 23 starts. That ended his streak of eight straight years of starting 30 or more games in a season. It seemed all but certain that the 11-year MLB veteran would find a team to play for in 2012. After all, he’s only 33 years old and has a 159-93 record, 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and three All-Star selections to his credit. However, nothing seemed to really materialize for Oswalt this winter.
He met with the Rangers, but with signing Yu Darvish and moving Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation, it was clear that he would not be a good fit in Arlington. Oswalt was also rumored to be linked to the Red Sox and the Cardinals, but nothing has come from those rumors either. So, he and his team have stated publicly that they will continue to view the options in front of them for the possibility signing with a team and reporting to spring training; if not, he will continue to throw and stay in shape in an effort to sign with a team and help them to the play-offs in the second half of the season, much like Roger Clemens in 2006 and 2007.
This type of mid-season signing could be just what a contending club needs; according to ESPN Stats & Information, there were 84 pitchers active at the end of last season that have started at least 50 games after the All-Star break in their career. Of those 84 pitchers, Oswalt had the best winning percentage, coming in at a .739 clip. The Phillies saw first-hand just how effective he was in the second half of the year when they traded for him in 2010 and he went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA down the stretch. I think this is a solid move for Roy Oswalt because he doesn’t want to settle for a team that won’t be a contender this year. Even though he is only 33 years old, he has logged over 2,000 innings in the Major Leagues, and that’s quite a bit of mileage for a pitcher. Plus, after spending most of his career in Houston and then being in the playoff atmosphere of Philadelphia, he wants to pitch in meaningful games. So, this is the one way to do it.
Not only will he have his choice of contending teams to choose from in June, if certain teams like the Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees are short on pitching and are looking for a shot in the arm, they aren’t scared to break the bank for a three or four month rental. So, this could end up being quite a lucrative option for Oswalt if it plays out the way his agent anticipates. Teams are starting to question Oswalt’s desire to pitch, but the old adage is that a manager can never have enough pitching, so it will only be a matter of time before someone scoops up the former Phillies starter.
When do you think Roy Oswalt will get signed? Will someone grab him before the season starts or will he be a mid-summer pick-up?