2nd Edit – 29 January – 11:30 AM: John Mozeliak apparently not smokescreening about whether the club had signed or had a contract in place with Oswalt. Reports come out that Roy Oswalt will be visiting the Texas Rangers on Monday and a decision may come soon. Perhaps on Tuesday, maybe Roy is just a really big fan of National Signing Day?
This blog was posted last night but I obviously needed to make a quick update as there’s been a few news items to note re: the Oswalt-to-Cardinals story. All signs, except apparently John Mozeliak, point to Oswalt. In an article today, John Mozeliak denies any pursuit of Roy Oswalt by the club.
Official word pending, it appears that the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to terms with Free Agent SP Roy Oswalt. Oswalt, former teammate to Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran, seems to be headed to Busch Stadium on a one year deal slated to pay in the range of about $5MM. This will inevitably push one of Jake Westbrook or Kyle Lohse out of the picture, the only hang-up? Both men possess a valuable No Trade Clause in their contracts. If neither man is willing to waive their NTC it will create a predicament within the rotation that may result in Jake Westbrook either being relegated to a bullpen role or, and more likely, outright released. The Cardinals have certainly weighed the possibility of having to eat some dollars on either of the two men’s contracts in a trade or a release in the event they were able to bring aboard Oswalt. Lohse is due $11.9MM while Westbrook is due $8.5 so the Cardinals are looking at a BIG chunk of money either way. A trade is the best-case scenario right now.
Roy Oswalt was no slouch last season despite his well-documented injuries. He maintained a very respectable HR/9 (0.65) despite pitching several games in Philadelphia and sports an above average GB% (47.3%) for his career which should play into the Cardinals continued pitch-to-contact philosophy despite a lack of Dave Duncan for the foreseeable future.
Oswalt’s injury is still something to consider as I mentioned a couple weeks back that there was talk of Oswalt hanging it up due to his back mid-season last year. This seems to be a reasonable risk to the Cardinals and I’m on board, as well. Oswalt managed an FIP of 3.44 with an xFIP of 3.95 so he did very well in his injury-shortened 2011 campaign of 139 innings.
In another previous entry I discussed the potential for Lance Lynn to claim the 5th roster spot in Spring Training, this is no longer something I see as a possibility and expect him to stand a greater chance starting the year in Memphis’ rotation rather than St. Louis’ bullpen. I love what Lance Lynn may be able to provide as a starter and believe he projects as a #3 or #4 in the Major Leagues. While I want to see him at the big league level, I hope the organization remains committed to Lynn as a starter more than a reliever.