Cards Close To Deal With Oswalt; BoSox, Astros In Mix
By Mark Polishuk [January 28 at 8:03am CST]
SATURDAY, 8:03am: Oswalt is likely to sign with the Cardinals "soon," reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. His source cautioned that it's "not yet 100 percent," however. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Oswalt turned down a one-year, $10MM offer from the Tigers, and that being close to his Mississippi home is a major factor in his decision.
FRIDAY, 9:30pm: The Cardinals are close to a deal with veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt, reports Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). The Red Sox and, surprisingly, the Astros are still contenders for Oswalt's services. Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter) confirms these three teams are in the mix and says it could be "another day or two" before a decision is made.
We heard two days ago that both the Cards and Red Sox had made Oswalt offers, with the St. Louis offer worth roughly $5MM. Oswalt has long expressed a desire to pitch for the Cards, so this could be why he is considering the club's modest offer. The Astros' involvement is totally out of left field since it was presumed they wouldn't be making any significant money this winter, but they could be looking to sign Oswalt and then flip him at the trade deadline. It's hard to imagine Oswalt turning down several contenders to return to Houston but it's possible Oswalt has a sentimental attachment to his original team.
Oswalt would provide quality depth to a St. Louis rotation that includes Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook. Wainwright is returning from Tommy John surgery, Garcia's durability could be a concern after a major increase in innings pitched (220 1/3 regular season and postseason innings in 2011, up from 163 1/3 IP in 2010) and Westbrook didn't have much value aside from eating innings.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
His agent also went on to say that Oswalt will be a starter wherever he signs which must mean the Cards have caved on that issue. A few weeks ago reports were that they wouldn't guarantee him a spot.
I like this deal a lot because if he fails, he won't be much of a dropoff from Westbrook (and we have some starting depth in the bullpen/AAA). But, his upside is lightyears ahead of Westbrook.
Speaking of Westbrook, I've heard that we could be trading him and eating some of his salary to make this an even money signing. Westbrook is owed $8.5 mil this year, but has a full NTC. If we can trade him + $3.5 mil, and sign Oswalt for $5 mil, we essentially get Oswalt + a prospect for Westbrook w/o spending any extra money. That's a pretty sweet deal.