Red Sox Offseason 2012: Jackson Signs With Nats, Focus Shifts To Oswalt

If the Boston Red Sox will be adding a big name free agent pitcher this offseason, it's going to have to be the 34-year old right hander from Weir, Mississippi, Mr. Roy Oswalt.

On Thursday, we learned that Edwin Jackson spurned the Red Sox and decided to sign with the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal worth anywhere between $8-12 million. While I was a fan of the Red Sox bringing Jackson aboard, I really can't blame him for turning down Boston's offer for more money. That's just how the game works. With Jackson on board, the Nationals will have a scary good rotation consisting of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

As for where the Red Sox, the attention now turns to Oswalt, who has been very picky about where he wants to pitch next season. Late Thursday night, we learned that the Texas Rangers, one of two teams Oswalt wants to pitch for next season, have pulled out of the running for the All-Star pitcher. With Texas reportedly out, this likely leaves the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, the other team Oswalt reportedly wants to pitch for next season.

If the Cardinals were to add Oswalt, they would most likely have to move at least one starting pitcher to make room in their already overcrowded rotation. Currently, they have Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jamie Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan in their rotation. The thought around baseball is that the Cards are looking to trade McClellan and move Westbrook to the bullpen, opening up room for Oswalt as a clear fourth starter on their team. However, I just don't know how possible moving McClellan will be, given their asking price of a major league position player.

As for the Red Sox, they aren't trying to move starters to the bullpen, they are pulling bullpen arms into the rotation (see Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves). By no means do they have the depth that Cardinals have in their rotation. Oswalt would most likely slide in as the number four starter behind Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, making this rotation relevant again. The question is, does he want to pitch in Boston? We don't know.

The reported offers of the apparent two finalists for Oswalt's services are roughly the same: A one-year deal worth about $5-6 million. Oswalt can either go ahead and sign with Boston for a year right now, where he will be pitching for a definite contender and will have a great chance to prove he's healthy so he can hit the market again next offseason. Or, he could continue to wait on the Cards until they are able to find a suitable trade partner for McClellan, which might not happen until Spring Training or possibly never happen.

Either way, it's your move, Roy.

For more Boston Red Sox coverage, visit our team page and blog, Over the Monster

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