It's two weeks until the start of Spring Training and Roy Oswalt still doesn't have a team. For several weeks now, the indication has been that Oswalt wants to join either the Texas Rangers or the St. Louis Cardinals so he can be close to his home in Mississippi. Well, that may not happen.
We heard late Thursday night that the Rangers were out of the Oswalt running, likely due to the fact that they already have six starters in their rotation. While the Cardinals haven't pulled out officially, they may have to unless they are able to trade Jake Westbrook or Kyle McClellan in order to free up payroll, and a spot in their rotation. Right now, a move regarding Westbrook or McClellan appear imminent.
That leaves the Boston Red Sox, a team that's been connected to Oswalt for several weeks, as a possible suitor. We know that they have extended a one-year offer to him right around the $5-6 million range and remain interested in signing the soon-to-be 34-year old pitcher. What makes them unique and possibly appealing to Oswalt is that they actually have a need for a starter. However, the holdup in uniting the two has been Oswalt, who really wants to pitch closer to home. Saturday, we got word that he may be warming up to the idea of coming to Boston.
According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox are still very much interested in Oswalt, and he may be interested in them now. Here's the full excerpt:
Oswalt and the Red Sox continue to have "mutual interest" in one another, according to one source with knowledge of the dialogue. The Red Sox have an ongoing need for a starting pitcher, and one option (Edwin Jackson) came off the board when he signed with the Washington Nationals several days ago. The Boston rotation includes Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz and open competitions for the final two spots. (via FOX Sports)
The article also lists the Cincinnati Reds and Oswalt's former team, the Philadelphia Phillies as possible landing spots. Rosenthal later reported that the Reds aren't actively pursuing him, they just "kicked the tires" on him.
As for the Phillies, they most likely won't be able to sign Oswalt right away, because they too don't have the money to sign him. Like the Cardinals, Philadelphia has a surplus of pitchers. If they were able to make a play for Oswalt, they'd most likely have to move a guy like Joe Blanton in order to do so. Last time I checked, no one wants any part of Blanton, who is scheduled to make $8.5 million this season. Eek.
If the Cardinals and Phillies are not able to find room both financially and physically, Roy Oswalt could very well fall into the lap of Ben Cherington and the Red Sox. Let's hope.