MLB

Oswalt's hot stove starting to boil

Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

As the Prince Fielder derby proved yet again, the free-agent market can take unexpected turns.

CASHING IN

Baseball's best players raked in a bounty this offseason. Check out the Hot Stove's most lucrative deals.

Right-hander Roy Oswalt, playing his own unusual waiting game, could be the next beneficiary.

Oswalt, according to major-league sources, wants to pitch for either the Texas Rangers or St. Louis Cardinals, a stance first reported by MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.

The Rangers, in the view of some executives, are the favorites to land Oswalt, even though they already have six starting pitchers, including right-hander Alexi Ogando, who could move to the bullpen.

Still, other clubs remain interested in Oswalt, including the Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers, sources say:

• The Red Sox cleared shortstop Marco Scutaro’s $6 million salary in a trade with the Rockies intending not just to add free-agent outfielder Cody Ross, whom they signed for $3 million, but also Oswalt or fellow free-agent righty Edwin Jackson.

• The Nationals, even after acquiring left-hander Gio Gonzalez, value Oswalt’s veteran presence and stuff.

STARTING POINT

A mound of evidence places these pitchers at the top of the heap. Who are the all-time best starters?

• The Indians, facing the possible loss of the pitcher known as Fausto Carmona due to a false-identity charge in his native Dominican Republic, are exploring pitching as well as hitting upgrades.

• The Brewers, who are comfortable with lefty Chris Narveson as their fifth starter, would sign Oswalt only at the right price.

The big question with Oswalt, 34, is how flexible he will be if neither the Rangers nor Cardinals want him.

One friend says Oswalt again has mentioned retirement as an option, but that might only have been an exaggeration. Two sources close to Oswalt insist that he will pitch in 2012, and perhaps even sign a two-year deal.

Oswalt, represented by Bob Garber, already has turned down a strong offer from the Detroit Tigers, sources say. His desire to play for the Red Sox is in question. The Rangers, on the other hand, are within reasonable distance of his home in Weir, Miss., and Oswalt owns a farm in northern Missouri; hence, his interest in the Cardinals.

The chances of a deal with the Cardinals, however, appear remote. The two sides are not in contact, sources say, and to clear a spot for Oswalt the Cardinals would need to trade another right-hander, either Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook. Both pitchers have full no-trade clauses and limited trade value; Lohse will earn $11.875 million in 2012, Westbrook $8.5 million.

STARTLING ROTATIONS

Fearsome pitchers leave opposing lineups trembling. Which teams boasted the best staffs ever?

The Rangers’ rotation, with the addition of Darvish, is even more crowded than the Cardinals’. But Oswalt is close with Rangers president Nolan Ryan and pitching coach Mike Maddux from their days together in the Astros’ organization. Oswalt’s wife, Nicole, also is close with Ryan’s daughter, Wendy, a rival executive said.

None of that guarantees the Rangers will sign Oswalt, of course. But the pitcher, who has career earnings of $91.95 million, according to baseball-reference.com, likely will be more reasonable with his financial demands for one of his preferred clubs.

True, the addition of Oswalt would give the Rangers six starters, even if Ogando returned to a setup role. Still, Darvish will be pitching in the majors for the first time and righty Neftali Feliz will be starting for the first time. Lefties Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are coming off their first full seasons in the rotation, and both pitched deep into the playoffs, adding to the physical burden.

The Rangers, hell-bent on reinforcing their staff after getting outpitched in the past two World Series, could amass depth and figure out the rest later. Injuries are inevitable, regression by one or more of their starters possible. Oswalt, who missed six weeks last season with lower back inflammation — is a physical risk himself.

CASH COWS

See which MLB stars earn the highest annual salaries, who's in the $150 million club and who makes the most at each position.

Another option for the Rangers would be to use the addition of Oswalt as the foundation for another move.

The team explored trading Harrison for a center fielder earlier this offseason. Some rival executives believe the Rangers might even be open to moving Ogando — though such a deal might be less likely if the club succeeds in trading righty Koji Uehara, who invoked his limited no-trade protection to reject a deal to the Blue Jays this week.

The Rangers, with their pursuit of free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, demonstrated that the signing of Darvish would not necessarily be their last major offseason move.

The addition of Oswalt to go with Darvish and new closer Joe Nathan would further raise the ante in the Rangers’ race with the Angels for AL West supremacy.

And if the Rangers pursue a different course, Oswalt can simply move on to another option.

Tagged: Red Sox, Indians, Brewers, Rangers, Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals, Roy Oswalt, Prince Fielder, Alexi Ogando

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..