Not even a mid-afternoon soap opera has the amount of drama that the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes have taken on this winter, especially over the past month. Oswalt has been targeted by many teams like a hunk being hounded by women, only to shoot them all down to save his love for the two beauties that he will flip flop between for years to come.
Oswalt wants to play in Texas or St. Louis, that’s it. We’ve known that for a while now. He turned down the Red Sox offer, albeit an offer for half of much as he’s asking for. Oswalt also turned down the new AL powerhouse, Detroit Tigers as well as telling Toronto and Cleveland he was not interested in pitching for them.
Now we learn that the Rangers are highly unlikely to sign Oswalt, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Oswalt does not and will not pitch in relief out of the bullpen for any club. He wants to be a starter and nothing else. Texas doesn’t have room for Oswalt with a rotation that appears to be set and that plan doesn’t include moving Matt Harrison to the ‘pen. Thus now leaves two teams essentially in the running for Oswalt, the favorites St. Louis Cardinals and the long shot Red Sox.
The Cards are trying to move salary to accommodate Oswalt’s asking price of $10 million by shopping Kyle McClellan. So far, they haven’t had a lot of success.
Boston on the other hand is looking like a slow paced game of ping pong. Back and forth, back and forth until someone misses the ball. Oh, another serve meaning the Red Sox are back in play with Oswalt. What we need is either Ben Cherington or the Cardinals to rip a smashing forehand and end the game once and for all.
If Oswalt doesn’t want to play here, fine, move on. Earlier this week it was looking like the club was doing just that. Cherington said at the Red Sox town hall that adding another pitcher, namely Oswalt or Edwin Jackson was unlikely.
But now, if the Cards can’t offer him the $10 million, they lose all leverage and suddenly you have to think that the Red Sox are back in the picture, although an offer of $7-8 million may be required to land the crafty veteran.
With Oswalt, we know the following criteria are important to him, in no particular order:
1. Playing for a team that can contend for a World Series
2. Play for a team that is close to his Mississippi home
3. Get $10 million for a one-year deal
The Red Sox can realistically offer one of the three important criteria and that’s the first one, play for a contending team. Boston isn’t closer to his Mississippi home than St. Louis or Texas and it’s a stretch to fathom that the Sox will meet his demands of $10 million for one-year.
But as my colleague Stephanie mentioned, what the Sox can offer is a culture of history and a great chance of winning; an opportunity to swoop in to Beantown, provide some great pitching, become loved by a Nation, leave town and always be remembered for what he did for one year. Curt Schilling anyone?
St. Louis is the favorite and in all reality will likely sign Oswalt when the dust settles. Let’s just hope it happens soon so we can finally put this topic to bed and move on. We try to move on, but when some new details emerge, it’s hard to ignore that the Red Sox remain in the picture. Many comments have been left over the various articles written on Oswalt and the general consensus is to let the 34-year old with a questionable back pitch elsewhere. If he doesn’t want Boston, Boston doesn’t want him.