There may be a new team competing for the services of free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. After his asking price may have cooled off some serious heat from the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be entering the mix for the veteran pitcher for the remainder of the season.
According to Ken Rosenthal’s report yesterday, Oswalt’s asking price is a pro-rated $7.5 million. The Dodgers have shown interest, but may also be thinking that is too much to spend for Oswalt’s short-term services.
In addition to the Phillies, Red Sox and Dodgers, the Texas Rangers are also considered to be in the running. Oswalt’spreference may be the Rangers according to multiple reports, and it would make sense. Oswalt would want to be on a team that has a good shot at winning the World Series, and the Rangers are certainly that kind of team after two consecutive trips to the World Series. The Rangers are currently 31-18 and cruising in the AL West, and Oswalt is comfortable in the state of Texas after nearly his entire career with the Houston Astros.
The Dodgers also have the look of a World Series contender, with a record of 32-16 entering today, although the west coast life style may not be up Oswalt’s alley. Of course, some thought his decision to approve a trade to the Phillies two seasons ago was a reach. The bottom line is Oswalt wants to win, and he will go anywhere that gives him a decent chance to do so.
How do the Phillies fit in to this? That remains to be seen. Certainly the recent injury concerns over Roy Halladay may have the team in more of a need to sign Oswalt, if the price is right. Halladay has not been placed on the disabled list yet and the team may try working through the soreness right now, but if Halladay does miss time this season it puts more of an emphasis on a need to acquire a veteran pitcher. Oswalt would likely be a solid pick-up for half the season, the way Pedro Martinez was picked up in 2009 for a short run to the World Series.
But the question will be how much room in the payroll will be left to improve the offense at the trade deadline? The Phillies offense is better now than they were at the start of the season, and perhaps they are turning things around, but if signing Oswalt means not being able to add a bat at the deadline, is it worth it?
That’s what Ruben Amaro Jr. is paid the big bucks to decide.