Oswalt, Texas Ranger

Note: Ken Rosenthal now reporting that Oswalt’s deal is fully guaranteed for $5 million-$6 million, and will not be paid pro rata.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Roy Oswalt has signed with the Texas Rangers. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, it’s a one-year deal worth between $5 million-$6 million, depending on how much time Oswalt spends with the team. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Oswalt told the Rangers he will ready to pitch in the majors in one month.

When he is ready, Oswalt likely will replace Scott Feldman in the Rangers’ starting rotation. The Rangers moved Feldman from the bullpen after Neftali Feliz went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Feldman will resume his role as the long reliever for Texas. If Oswalt is successful for Texas, Feliz may very well return to the bullpen when he comes off the disabled list.

Oswalt began his major-league career with the Astros in 2001. He pitched for Houston for nine-and-a-half seasons before the Astros traded him to the Phillies in mid-2010. Last season, he started only 23 games, the fewest since his rookie season. He’s battled back injuries on-and-off throughout his career, but last season the pain was too great and he spent six weeks on the disabled list. Oswalt even speculated that the degenerative discs in his back might end his career.

In eleven seasons, Oswalt holds a record of 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA and a 3.35 FIP. His career K/BB rate is 3.52, although that’s well above the 2.82 he posted in 2011. He throws a low-90’s fast ball, a sinker, a slider, a curve and a changeup. As my colleague Eno Sarris wrote earlier today for RotoGraphs, nearly all of Oswalt’s stats are moving in the wrong direction.

Oswalt does have postseason experience, and the Rangers certainly expect to rely on that as they seek their third American League West title in three years. In 72.1 postseason innings, Oswalt’s allowed 73 hits, 24 walks and 32 runs (30 earned).

Oswalt will pitch in the American League for the first time in his career.  He turns 35 in August.

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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

33 Responses to “Oswalt, Texas Ranger”

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  1. bSpittle says:

    rangers suck

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  2. Jack says:

    I can’t wait until the Pirates trade Neil Walker to the Rangers. The headlines will be glorious.

    +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Daniel says:

      why…may I ask? First off, it won’t happen because they have Kinsler, and then second off…why whould it be such a big deal. I don’t understand if this is a joke of some kind…?

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  3. Kind of thin on the analysis, is this ESPNgraphs?

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    • Daniel says:

      Its this new thing they’ve been doing at fangraphs where they have short news pieces; not for analysis.

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        funny you say that, it reads EXACTLY like an espn news piece. the analysis is listing career stats.

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  4. henry says:

    come on, how much better can they get? this is unfair. The rest of the league doesn’t have a chance.

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  5. yo-yo says:

    I’m interested to see how much this move matters. Five years ago he was a legit ace but as Eno said the periphs have been sliding since then. Can he stay healthy, will he be better than the alternatives, Does his ERA take the one run league to league leap? I think they are all fair questions. At the price it was obviously a no brainer as he should provide leadership and may even slot in as a 2 or 3 starter in the best case scenario. If all the pitchers get healthy and are pitching wel………Yikes, I think particuraly at the back end of games with Feliz, Ogando, Nathan, Ross, Adams, Uehara and Adams.

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    • Cidron says:

      He isnt being asked to be the ace. Just being asked to throw some pitches now and then. Thats all.

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    • Paul Sporer says:

      Yo-yo, you overstate a few things by a wide margin here. First off, his stats aren’t in some 5-year tumble nor did I see where Eno suggested as much. Prior to last year, his skills had been rock solid save a 2007 blip where he was still able to post great results.

      The back issues led to a lot of career worsts last year, but his career worst was still better than a helluva lot of pitchers.

      The difference between AL and NL SP ERAs isn’t close to a run. It was 0.28 last year, 0.20 in 2010 and 0.31 in 2009. This year it has been 0.44 so far.

      Just wanted to level set these things for ya to help ya out.

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    • chuckb says:

      The question isn’t, “Is Oswalt still an ace?”. He certainly isn’t. The question is, “Is Oswalt better than Scott Feldman?”. I’d bet that he is. Then moving Feliz back to the pen makes the Rangers’ pen that much better.

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  6. Juan Chapa says:

    I am A Ranger fan, don’t get me wrong, but I am also a REALIST.
    The Rangers will not win a WS, until they get a solid rotation.
    The Giants were led by their aces, Lincecum and Cain, and
    the Cardinals had Carpenter (Wainwright was on DL). The ace
    makes the rotation better, as the rest of the rotation knows
    that if any of them fail, they can count on the ace. The aces
    even get the offense going, when they start hanging 0’s on
    the scoreboard. The Rangers have not experienced this
    (on a regular basis) since they had Lee. They have been
    successful, because they had a top rated bullpen & offense,
    and a decent rotation (but no stopper/ace). Darvish is a
    step in the ace direction, but has yet to prove himself
    (and lacks the experience). True, aces do not guarantee
    wins or success, but in the post season they can make
    a difference!

    -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Cidron says:

    And, the timing of the signing of Oswalt, (maybe the best FA pitcher out there), is in no way related to the DL’ing of Angels pitcher, Weaver, nor Phillies pitcher Halladay. Oswalt was going to sign somewhere today. LA, Philly, or Texas, due to needs of two, and wants of one. Texas won.

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    • Cidron says:

      argh.. fangraphs, you need an edit feature of your posts..

      correction … Weaver, and Phillies…

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  8. Jon L. says:

    It’s so unfair for one city to get the kind of market share where they can build an all-star team like this.

    Go Yankees!

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  9. shthar says:


    Go Patton!

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  10. John says:

    “All of his stats are moving in the wrong direction”

    I guess it doesn’t help that he had a career year in 2010. Only one way to go in 2011, right?

    Doesn’t tell us much.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. everdiso says:

    3yr SP splits coming into the year (2009-2012), all in the NL:

    H.Kuroda (37): 83gs, 6.2ip/gs, 7.1k/9, 2.1bb/9, 47.6gb%, .282babip, 3.31era, 3.53fip, 3.51xfip, 3.4war/32gs
    R.Oswalt (35): 85gs, 6.3ip/gs, 7.2k/9, 2.2bb/9, 44.6gb%, .286babip, 3.46era, 3.49fip, 3.66xfip, 3.5war/32gs

    H.Kuroda (37): 59.8%fb (92.2mph, 0.46w/C), 26.0%sl (84.2mph, 0.64w/C), 12.3%sf (87.2mph, 0.04w/C), 1.9%cb (78.6mph, 1.28w/C)
    R.Oswalt (35): 58.7%fb (92.5mph, 0.60w/C), 13.8%sl (84.3mph, 0.65w/C), 13.0%ch (82.7mph, 0.28w/C), 14.5%cb (72.1mph, 0.42w/C)

    2012 AL

    H.Kuroda (37): 10gs, 6.1ip/gs, 5.4k/9, 3.1bb/9, 48.5gb%, .277babip, 3.96era, 4.99fip, 4.32xfip
    R.Oswalt (35): ???

    Fair comparison for Oswalt? or does his true 4-pitch arsenal give him a leg up on Kuroda in translating his numbers to the AL?

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    • everdiso says:

      crap, the years on that 3yr split should read 2009-2011, not 2009-2012.

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      • Ross says:

        Interesting number on Roy vs Kuroda. Kuroda with the Yankees, Ks down and BBs up, is that because of the move to the AL (and AL East no less) or could it be Charles Barkley’s undefeated friend, Father Time? I don’t expect Oswalt to be an ace by any means, but if he’s your fifth starter you aren’t hurting.

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