Roy Oswalt and the Rangers

This post is quite a bit shorter than our normal fare here. We’re going to experiment with some quicker news analysis pieces for things that are still churning through the rumor mill. Don’t worry, these pieces won’t take the place of the more in-depth articles you’ve come to expect from the site.

A few weeks ago, I talked about how Roy Oswalt could end up as the steal of the off-season, and noted that he could instantly improve the rotation of nearly every team in baseball.

In fact, there might only be one team where Oswalt wouldn’t represent an upgrade over someone currently penciled into their starting five – that team is the one that Oswalt is meeting with today, and is apparently one of the two teams he wants to play for in 2012.

No team in baseball needs a starting pitcher less than the Texas Rangers. Their starting pitchers combined for +19.8 WAR last year, third most in the Majors, and while they lost C.J. Wilson, they spent roughly $110 million to bring in Yu Darvish and have decided to bring Neftali Feliz to camp as a starting pitcher. Toss in Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison, and their rotation doesn’t even have room for Alexi Ogando, who himself probably belongs in a Major League rotation next year.

Oswalt’s a good bet to be a solid starter next year, but the Rangers already have six solid starters at the big league level. If, as rumored, they’d have to either move Harrison to the bullpen or make him available in trade, they should simply say thanks but no thanks. Oswalt makes sense for St. Louis, who have replaceable pitchers at the back-end of their rotation. Texas, though, simply doesn’t need him.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Pat
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Pat
4 years 6 months ago

I like the new format – short and sweet!

B.S.
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B.S.
4 years 6 months ago

Pitching Wins…..nough said

Simmons
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Simmons
4 years 6 months ago

Wow, pitching wins aren’t informative on their own? No way!!

Brian Kenny
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Brian Kenny
4 years 6 months ago

Here’s some feedback – try not to look so goddamn lumpy on camera.

Matt Vasgersian
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Matt Vasgersian
4 years 6 months ago

LOL

I’ve seen a woman naked. Your move, Cameron.

Yirmiyahu
Member
4 years 6 months ago

Oswalt’s primary criteria seems to be that he wants to be close to his Mississippi home. But, with spring training in FL or AZ, half the season spent on the road, and Mississippi not actually close enough to any MLB team that he could conveniently drive home after every home game…. Why does this actually matter to him? Slightly shorter plane trips?

James
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James
4 years 6 months ago

He can pitch for the Mississippi Braves

chuckb
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chuckb
4 years 6 months ago

I agree. Ignoring the BoSox, for example, seems silly. That’s a 90+ win team that has a tremendous shot at the playoffs and would likely meet his asking price.

As a Cards’ fan, I’m looking forward to the prospect of Oswalt replacing Westbrook in the rotation but he seems to be a little short-sighted here.

pft
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pft
4 years 6 months ago

No more chicken and beer in the clubhouse though.

Socal Baseball
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Socal Baseball
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah. He has a wife and two daughters. I’d assume it is less about him making those shorter plan trips and more about them being able to make those shorter plane trips to spend time with him on weekends when he is in Dallas.

Plus, when you are talking about one off day. The difference in flight time is a pretty big deal.

Nathan
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Nathan
4 years 6 months ago

TL, DR.

J/K.

I like the format as well, hope to see more of these.

The Real Neal
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Interesting take. A similar take that was made in the comments on the Darvish write up. If the Rangers wanted to improve their rotation through free agency, there was only really one way to go. They did that at about half the total outlay it would have required for a Fielder signing (to upgrade a more glaring weakness).

Their rotational depth does make Oswalt a ‘safer’ signing than some team that would ink him in as a #2 and assume he’s going to make 32 starts, though. All in all, it would seem to make more sense to hold on to the cash and use it mid-season if they find themselves needing an arm.

ToddM
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ToddM
4 years 6 months ago

True, but you can’t get an Oswalt mid-season without giving up player assets. If it’s in the budget, you sign the best SP available as a FA and worry about the logjam later.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
4 years 6 months ago

Also worth noting that it’s very possible that Feliz could use a handful of starts in the minors to start the season.

The Real Neal
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Pitchers sometimes go to the minors to “stretch out” if they’re changing roles mid-season. Feliz presumably is going to be with the starters from day one of ST, and barring set backs should be ready to go on opening day (or day 3).

AL Eastbound
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

It appears Oswalt has told the Jays he won’t sign there, not surprisingly. Per Peter Gammons Twitter.

LOL Gammo
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LOL Gammo
4 years 6 months ago

You mean he tweets intelligible stuff too!?!?!?

ussdavidprice
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ussdavidprice
4 years 6 months ago

Whatever of the notion that teams may have too much starting pitching in March but not enough in September? If it’s not financially binding why not take a flyer on him?

Terminator X
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Terminator X
4 years 6 months ago

“No team in baseball needs a starting pitcher less than the Texas Rangers.”

What a strange sentence to finally see in print.

Chuck D
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Chuck D
4 years 6 months ago

Are you really an ostrich famer now, Term?

Hear the drummer get wick-ed!

Todd
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Todd
4 years 6 months ago

Dammit Mozeliak, just sign Oswalt already. Put Kyle McClellan out at a garage sale if you need to, who cares, he’s not worth not signing Oswalt.

the hottest stove
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the hottest stove
4 years 6 months ago

I have full confidence Mo will get it done. He’s just seeing if he can get anything back since KMac has been pretty good over the last few years. I like that he’s showing patience, because it might bring Oswalt’s price back down to 7.5 or 8 instead of 10. For all the reasons outlined above, the Rangers are checking in but I doubt they bite at a cost of $10 million.

Wear a scarf if you’re Prozeliak!!!

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
4 years 6 months ago

When I said that StL should sign Oswalt to complete the mid-90’s Astros Reunion, I was half-joking. I never thought it woulod materialize.

Berkman-Beltran-Oswalt. All we need now is Morgan Ensberg to serve as Freese Insurance.

I like Oswalt to StL for a 1-2 year deal.

What I don;t understand is how Oswalt became so valuable that he can basically say he only wants to play for a couple of teams.

I can tolerate Kyle McClellan as a short-mid reliever in lower LI situations, but I never want to see him in the starting rotation again.

Signing Oswalt means Westbrook-Lohse is out of the rotation. StL would be paying one of those guys between 7-12M to “not start”. I’m fine with that.

Really, I’d rather just see Wain-Carp-Garcia-Oswalt-Miller. IMHO, that’s their best 5. Westbrook and Lohse can be [1] emergency starters (every team needs them), [2] long relievers (garbagemen), or [3] get out of the way.

Mark
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Mark
4 years 6 months ago

Like the format.

Thinking out loud, but doesn’t CIN have a stronger case (if not the financial flexibility) for chasing Oswalt? (CIN to MS isn’t much further by private jet than STL to MS)

Unfortunately, CIN would have to dump not McClellan ($2.5m) but the undumpable Arrojo to make it work … but would benefit not just from replacing Arrojo but in denying STL Oswalt.

jim
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jim
4 years 6 months ago

He also gets to pick where to sign, and he doesnt want to sign with cincy

BJ
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BJ
4 years 6 months ago

Still rooting for the Angels to sign him and then trade E Santana. Would save the club some dough and return a decent haul of prospects.

jaywrong
Member
jaywrong
4 years 6 months ago

I’d rather have Ervin.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 6 months ago

Me too.

TexPantego
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TexPantego
4 years 6 months ago

Let’s see (A) pay $10 mil for a a guy in his mid 30s with 2 DL stints, lower velocity, higher whip, and a much much higher high BA in 2011.

Or (B) a league minimum salaried guy in his mid 20’s coming off his best year and who put up better numbers than Oswalt?

Ari Collins
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Ari Collins
4 years 6 months ago

Sure, if you look back at only one year. The past year is the most important data point, but it’s not the only.

Matt
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Matt
4 years 6 months ago

Like this. I don’t like articles that do in-depth analysis of a move that hasn’t happened yet, especially trades where the supplemental pieces may not even be known (doesn’t happen often here, but I have seen it occasionally). It feels presumptuous. This is a good compromise because it is interesting to hear quick takes on rumors as they come up, even if they don’t result in anything.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
4 years 6 months ago

pitching depth.. never can you have enough. was it Boston, 2009 (or, perhaps 2010) that thought they had tons of depth, so much that they had starters eating innings in AAA to keep the rust off.. It didnt work as anticipated. Between injuries and ineffectiveness at the major league level, they ended the year really questioning the rotation’s effectiveness (not due to player movement loss) for the next year.

Robbie G.
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Robbie G.
4 years 6 months ago

Could the Rangers be pitching to Roy Oswalt the idea of converting to a relief pitcher? I don’t typically read too much into a team’s official statements to the media but take a look:

“If that [i.e., signing Oswalt] were to happen, you’d love to have extra depth,” said Daniels, in talking about if an injury occurred on the staff. “The flip side we’ve got to consider is what if that doesn’t happen? How does it all fit together? We’ve spent a lot of time and resources developing this younger group where they are ready to maybe take that next step and do we owe it to them? Those are things we’re walking through right now.”

Is Daniels suggesting here that he’s happy with the current slated five-man rotation and is hoping that Oswalt is open to the idea of pitching out of the bullpen?

John Smoltz extended his career pretty significantly by converting to the bullpen. In fact, his years in the bullpen may have pushed his HOF candidacy from on-the-fence to sure thing. Oswalt has obviously had some back issues so a conversion to the bullpen would theoretically accomplish that goal although he seems a good ways away from being a HOFer at this point.

Also, we witnessed the Rangers’ willingness (during the World Series) of pulling starters relatively early. Maybe Oswalt would be a guy who would be asked to pitch the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings when a pitcher is pulled after five innings? Rather than use one pitcher in the 6th, another in the 7th, another in the 8th, and yet another in the 9th?

Texas demonstrated a willingness to think outside the box during the 2011 postseason and I seem to remember some analyses on this very site regarding whether or not those sorts of strategies would work during the regular season. Maybe Texas is pitching this idea to Oswalt? If Oswalt (or any pitcher) were to give you a couple of three-inning stints per week then Oswalt (or whoever) would wind up pitching a ton of innings, not much less than many starting pitchers. He’d also probably be more likely to make it through the entire season without spending time on the DL if he were used in this way, right?

dannyrangers32
Member
dannyrangers32
4 years 6 months ago

yea, im a bit puzzled by the rangers meeting with Oswalt. As a rangers fan i must admit i would be pretty annoyed if they ended up signing him for more money than anyone not named yu on the staff…

IvanGrushenko
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IvanGrushenko
4 years 6 months ago

Why? If anything the fact that everyone else is cheap makes Oswalt more signable, not less. If I were a Rangers fan I’d be happy to have a guy who could help them limit innings of Feliz and Ogando. It also makes it easier to trade minor league pitchers for an OF or 1B midseason.

Jesse
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Jesse
4 years 6 months ago

Maybe they liked the tigers trend of being completely overbought in one area.

Socrates
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Socrates
4 years 6 months ago

This is something I was actually saying during the Darvish sweepstakes. Also, while he is further down the ladder, Scott Feldman was pretty good once he was healthy last year. He is clearly not a ace, but if RA Dickey can make it, so can Feldman.

Then of course you have to recognize that Texas also has Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez who are pretty close. While it is good that both will start in AAA, there are teams in the league where Perez would already be 10 starts into his career.

If they land Oswalt at this point, forget about the rotation… they have a kind of crazy bullpen. Nathan, Feliz, Adams, Ogando, Uehara, Feldman, Lowe. Even with no lefty this bullpen might be one of the most talented I have ever seen.

If they had another $7 to $10 to spend, it seems to me that they should have been in on Carlos Pena.

SSmith
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SSmith
4 years 6 months ago

Feliz is not going to be in the pen. If he has a hard time transitioning into a starter they are going to send him down to AAA. The Rangers want him as a starter. I will have to also disagree with you saying the Rangers bullpen isn’t the most talented. In fact they have the deepest bullpen in baseball if not in the top 3. They might not have a slew of lefties but they have a well touted pitching group.

Plato
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Plato
4 years 6 months ago

What a bore this post was. Drink some hemlock already..

Keith
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Oswalt is in the bargain bin, but there is at least a three-way tug of war on him by zealous shoppers. If he falls into Texas’s lap, one of the losers might pony up a hitter. Certainly Colby Lewis’s trade value is at its apex. The Rangers effectively net out with a free bat at least.

SSmith
Guest
SSmith
4 years 6 months ago

Why is Oswalt automatically projected a starter if signed? why not long relief or back up to any of the rotation guys if they fail to meet expectations? If you put Oswalt as a starter yeah he’s good but he is becoming more and more injury plagued by his back. And not once has he made a huge effort to fix it besides rest. That could be bad if you trade Harrison. If you put Oswalt in the Pen he can hopefully stay healthy and can still be a veteran presence in the club. If your asking what about Feldman and Ogando. Feldman should be in the same Role as Oswalt but Ogando needs to be in the Pen or as a back up to Nathan if he fails to meet expectations as the Rangers closer. In my opinion.

The Real Neal
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

His treatment for his back is to rest it, and your solution to fix it is to have him pitch more frequently?

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