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Nationals “have expressed interest” in Roy Oswalt

Nov 4, 2011, 4:46 PM EDT

oswalt wide getty Getty Images

Washington re-signed Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year, $4 million deal, but general manager Mike Rizzo said today that the Nationals are still looking for veteran starting pitching and Bill Ladson of reports that they’ve “expressed interest” in Roy Oswalt.

Ladson adds that Rizzo and the Nationals pursued Oswalt when the Astros were shopping him in 2010, but he was eventually traded to the Phillies.

Rizzo didn’t actually name Oswalt, but specified that he’s looking for “a good leader-type of guy that throws a lot of innings, has shown that he can win in the big leagues, and really lead our staff.”

Oswalt’s back problems limited him to just 139 innings this season, but he threw at least 180 innings in each of the previous seven seasons and his .631 career winning percentage ranks ninth among all active pitchers (for whatever that’s worth, of course). Mark Buehrle also seems to fit Rizzo’s description, assuming the Nationals can sell either pitcher on their being legitimate contenders.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    What is this? I’ve seen reports linking Madson, Rollins and now Oswalt to the Nationals. What are they trying to do? Have more Phillies fans invade and take over their stadium?

    • natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      I still haven’t seen reports from Nats sources about Madson or Rollins. Any reports must be coming from the Phillies’ side. Or from the players’ agents. Or from Jayson Werth.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        Werth was petitioning for Madson. As far as Rollins, the report was from an unidentified front office guy with knowledge of their thinking right now, which is to bring in a few veteran guys that know how to win to mix with their youth. They realize they may need to overpay. Same thinking with the Werth signing.

        Gotta love Hot Stove!

  2. natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Of course, Rizzo is still looking for veteran starting pitching, as he should be. Question is, can Oswalt be had for a reasonable price, given his significant health risk? Or does Rizzo go after Buehrle or some other veteran starter who isn’t as good, but is more likely to stay off the DL?

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM

      If he wanted to make a real splash, especially with Stephen Strasburg coming back, why not both? Shoot high, Greg. You guys are close to competing. I suspect Rizzo knows this. Sometimes you need to take a risk with a pitcher.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        Greg,, Jim Salisbury is also reporting that the Nationals have interest in Jimmy Rollins. If they acquire Rollins, the Nats would move Ian Desmond to center field and Rollins would play SS. What do you think?

      • natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        Believe it or not, Mike Rizzo is interested in players other than Phillies.

        Not saying you shouldn’t take a risk. Paying Chien-Ming Wang to rehab was a risk, and paying him $4 million is a risk, though it’s a one-year contract with incentives. Paying Roy Oswalt would be a risk worth taking at a reasonable price.

        The Nats have shown they are willing to spend. At the same time, it should be easier to get players to want to come to Washington. Recall the premium they paid to Jayson Werth; they shouldn’t have to overpay as much this year. My hope is that they will spend their cash wisely.

        Now, even if Rizzo and the Lerners are willing to overspend, why do it in areas that aren’t the highest priorities? As I’ve said numerous times in this space, SP and CF. This assumes they won’t break the bank and go after Albert or Prince. If Storen or Clippard were traded, then maybe Madson. If Rizzo feels the need for a SS, why not Reyes instead of Rollins?

        The other day, Davey Johnson said the Nats would contend next season. I like the idea, but still think 2013 is the year for really contending. The team has made a lot of progress, and has a base of young talent. Breaking the bank for 2012 would be, IMHO, unwise.

      • RedHeadedBastard - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        Moving Desmond to CF would be disastrous. The Nationals tried that in 2010 with Guzam in RF. Nothing but bad things happened.

      • RedHeadedBastard - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:08 PM


      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:11 PM


        You guys need a CF? What are your thoughts on Shane Victorino? Would that solve your needs? All we need in return is a young 3rd baseman and outfielder in return. I’m not familiar with your farm system. You will have Zimmerman @ 3rd for a long time. Do you guys have anything at 3rd close to major league ready that is decent? How about the OF?

      • natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:11 PM

        Ah finally, an actual rumor. (is that an oxymoron?)

        Interesting. Moving Desmond to CF is new. Recall that last summer, some rumors involved trading Desmond, moving Espinosa to SS, putting Lombardozzi Jr. at 2B.

        Given Desmond’s range at SS, I could see him in CF defensively. Question is, does Rizzo see him there? Because his bat isn’t good enough to cut it unless he can do the job defensively.

        Rollins could bat leadoff, despite his slightly-above-average OBP (.338 last season); not like Davey would have a lot of alternatives. It might have the additional effect of making Rizzo resist trading Drew Storen for a CF.

        Still wouldn’t give Rollins 5 years, though. And you might consider the possibility that the Phillies might want him back.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:17 PM

        Guzman was a disaster in RF, no question about it. But Guzman was old and had lost his range at SS. Similarly, Alfonso Soriano was moved to LF because he couldn’t play 2B. Desmond seems better-positioned to make a switch. Again, this depends on whether Rizzo and Davey and the scouts think Desmond can do it.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Oswalt wanted to go to a sure-thing contender the last time he changed uniforms. I think Oswalt and Washington’s window of competition are missing each other, but not by much.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM

      You would think so. But, if the Nationals blew away Oswalt and his agent with ridiculous money, you would think they would at least consider…

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:43 PM

        Roy seems like a winning-first, money-second kinda guy to me.

        I’m guessing he goes to NYY or the Rangers for some sort of 3 year, 40 million deal.

  4. yankeesgameday - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Could the Nats just please say who they are NOT interested in to save us all some trouble.

    • natstowngreg - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:13 PM

      Jealous of the attention the Nats are getting?

  5. drunkenhooliganism - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    It would be awesome if the Nats would sign him this week. Or at least have a believable bidding war start. The Phillies could get draft pick compensation without worrying about resigning him for $15M or whatever.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      The only way the Phillies get a draft pick is by offering Oswalt arbitration, which will be around 16mil. They will not do it because if he accepts, they have to pay him this. So, no draft pick. He just walks.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:35 PM

        I know this. Read what I wrote again.

        If someone signs him before the phillies have to make a choice on arbitration, they automatically get the draft picks. It would be a mindnumbingly stupid move by the Nationals.

  6. sumerduckman - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Boy, I hope Mr. Rizzo has sense enough to not hire an aging star with back problems. Mark Buehrle would be a much better fit, and he plays excellent defense. Even luring Javier Vazquez out of ‘retirement’, would be a better option. I saw Vazquez chew up the Nats at Nats Stadium this year. He looked good! Did not look like some one ready to retire.

  7. spudchukar - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Still gotta believe he will end up with his buddy Lance.

    • SmackSaw - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      That’s my guess. Oswalt’s a Cardinal

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Let this guy sign with the Nats, i do not want to see him anywhere near a Yankee uniform cause this guy is washed up and would get spanked in the AL East

    • spudchukar - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      Yeah that rough tough AL East who hasn’t had a WS in three years and only 3 of the last 11. It is overrated and headed south. Fortunately and Rays and Jays are on the rise.

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