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Rangers considered heavy favorites to sign Roy Oswalt

May 29, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

oswalt face getty Getty Images

Roy Oswalt is reportedly close to choosing his new team and returning to the mound, and according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com the Rangers are heavy favorites to sign the 34-year-old right-hander.

In fact, an unnamed “baseball official” told Crasnick that he “would be shocked” if Oswalt doesn’t end up in Texas.

Along with the Rangers the Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, Orioles, and Red Sox have also been linked to Oswalt, who threw 139 innings with a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio for Philadelphia last season.

Neftali Feliz is on the disabled list and expected to be out until after the All-Star break with a sprained elbow and it’s possible that the Rangers could shift him back to the bullpen once healthy, creating a rotation spot for Oswalt. For now Scott Feldman is filling in for Feliz, joining Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland in the rotation.

Ted Lilly‘s shoulder injury may have magnified the Dodgers’ interest in Oswalt after watching him throw last week and if the Phillies get bad news on Roy Halladay‘s shoulder it’s easy to envision them giving Oswalt a call for a reunion. Depending on which sources you choose to believe Oswalt’s primary motivation is pitching close to his Mississippi home, playing for a contender, or cashing in for the biggest contract. Or maybe some combination of all three, which seemingly also gives Texas the edge.

  1. thefalcon123 - May 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Explain this to me Rangers fans…why Oswalt and why is Feldman taking over starter duties? Don’t you guys have a guy in the pen who was an All-Star as a starting pitcher last year? Why isn’t Ogando being moved into the rotation instead? Not trying to make a point, just a sincere question, because to someone who doesn’t follow the Rangers enough to know these kinds of details, this move looks absolutely perplexing.

    • Mike Luna - May 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      For a few different reasons, I think.

      Lewis, Holland, Darvish, Harrison, & Feliz were all guaranteed spots in the rotation before the season began. No one in the organization used the word guaranteed, but everyone kind of knew that it was going to go that way.

      Feldman and Ogando were both stretched out in ST just in case one of the above pitchers was injured or severely underperformed. When the season began, Feldman became the team’s long reliever, so he stayed stretched out.

      I don’t think Ogando has pitched more than 2 innings in any appearance since March, so they’d have to stretch him out again if they wanted him to start. That would take one of their more potent late inning weapons out of the mix, so at this point it’s a question of where to best deploy a guy with Ogando’s talent and diversity.

      Right now I think Ogando in the ‘pen makes sense, given the make up of the roster and available personnel.

      That being said, I don’t really want Oswalt unless Feliz’s injury is far more serious than the team is letting on. The kid was good in 7 starts and I think he deserves his spot in the rotation if he can come back in a timely manner.

      • miketreedy - May 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        I just wanted to add that I think the Rangers see Oswalts experience as plus. They still have a very young pitching staff. Oswalt can hopefully be the Rangers version of Chris Carpenter. I think that is one reason they signed Nathan as closer as well. They need pitchers that have pitched in high pressure situations. This can be invaluable when trying to win a World Series.

        If Oswalt doesn’t work they can always go back to Feliz or Ogando later in the season. If it does work their bullpen will be a monster with Adams, Feliz, Ogando & Nathan.

    • angrycorgi - May 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Feldman used to be a starter and is now the long man, so it’s most natural for him to start since he’s still being used for long stretches anyway. He’s covering for the fact that Neftali has likely got a screwed up arm that may require surgery. We’ll have to wait and see after he rests it some, but history suggests he is going to wind up with TJ surgery sooner rather than later.

      Ogando is an excellent daily contributor out of the pen and his value is maximized by his ability to come out and dominate for up to 2 innings when another pitcher needs to get bailed out. Right now, Ogando has a bruised throwing hand. It’s easy to say “Ogando would be perfect to start”, but then you lose the dominant 95+ fastball that comes in to bail the other guys out regularly. Right now Ogando is the safety net. When a reliever stumbles, they bring Ogando out to clean up the mess.

      I think Robbie Ross would make more sense as a stop-gap starter than Ogando. He’s shown to have pretty good stuff and endurance and is able to mix up his velocities and control his fastball well. But its scary handing that young of a kid the keys to the Ferrari. You never know how he’ll handle the stress of being a starter.

      Oswalt would most definitely be a better option over Feldman and likely better on most days than Harrison. That would let Feldman go back to being the long reliever (something he’s excelled in better than starting) and would allow the team to take the more cautious route with handling Neftali’s situation.

    • mikebrandt12 - May 29, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      It is a good question. While Ogando was excellent before the All Star break last year, he did fade at the end badly. In addition, he really only has two pitches – fastball and a slider. They are excellent pitches, but his success rate through the lineup the 2nd time and beyond is not as good.

      His value as the connection between the starters (many are young are still learning) to the back of the rotation (Adams as setup and Nathan as closer) is priceless.

      At first, I thought Rangers would be ok with an injury and would not need Oswalt. However, with the inexperience in the rotation (and inconsistency), poor performance by their top AAA prospects (Perez and Ramirez), and the real opportunity to win a World Series this year (before loss of Hamilton to FA); I say GO FOR IT.

    • hiltonandastoria - May 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      He reached 65 innings last year and wasn’t the same after, He was good for April -May as a starter and when June hit it was all downhill.
      He’s a much better 7th – 8th inning guy than a starter.

      Nothing perplexing here at all

  2. chew1985 - May 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Oswalt’s only motivation is money. He proved that last year with the Phillies. He will spend a few weeks getting sharp…will throw a few good games and then spend the rest of the season on the disabled list or maybe decide he must go home should a family member get the flu. Why anyone is still interested at a megabucks price baffles me.

    Oh, and by the way; he is nothing near the pitcher he once was. Prospective teams may want to factor that in.

    • heyblueyoustink - May 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      While hurting his back on the whole tractor thing was boneheaded, it’s not like a 3.69 ERA is mailing it in.

    • Utley's Hair - May 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      Riiiight…he has no heart…blahblahblah…

      Seriously, people, why is it that this guy gets raked over the coals for his belief that family is more important than baseball? I hope your family doesn’t ever need you more than your job.

  3. xjokerz - May 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Better Texas then my tigers wasting money on this bum

  4. marshmallowsnake - May 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Wow…what a shocker. A free agent is going to sign with the team that has the best record in the league? I never saw this coming.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    If Texas got Oswalt, on top of that already kickass roster…oh man. The AL West is theirs to lose once again.

    • pw38 - May 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Well, even with the Angels finally starting to play like a decent team the Rangers should still be considered the odds on favorites to win the division. Aside from a somewhat subpar May they’ve played well enough and continue to do so that I just can’t see the Angels making up the 6.5 game difference in time. Who knows and last year showed stranger things can happen but if I were a betting man I’d be more inclined to say the Angels will be fighting for one of the two wild cards by seasons end. The Rangers just seem to have too much confidence and too potent a line up to be seriously challenged by anyone in the West.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      So is the World Series…again

  6. hpt150 - May 29, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Been surprised all year by the seeming lack if market for Oswalt. 100 or so innings of sub 4.00 ERA pitching would be useful to a lot of teams. He’s not the pitcher he once was, sure, but he’d miss be a #3 in a lot of rotations. Especially with the extra time off.

    • pw38 - May 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      I think the market is there for him, I believe he’s the primary reason he’s not playing yet. He can’t expect really big money from teams outside of a few that make sense and those teams up until recently haven’t really been in need. As the season wears on though it starts to make more sense to invest in him but really he needs to want to play to win not play to get paid and I just get the impression he’s holding out for as much money as he can get.

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