News came out today that Roy Oswalt would listen to any and all offers thrown his way. Originally sticking to his desire to stay close to home, Mississippi, Oswalt said that he would only consider offers that would keep him close. Now with two weeks of Spring Training already gone and games already started, Oswalt is seeing the window close. Some of the larger market teams have already been linked to him for a while (read: Red Sox), but I think the Athletics can be that “mystery team” and grab Oswalt. Below are the reasons why I think the Athletics can, and should, kick the tires on Roy Oswalt.
At 34 and a road map of injuries (his back being the most recent) Oswalt could probably be had for cheap on a 1-/2-year deal. As a pitcher that is trying to stay in the league and looking to show that he can either 1) stay healthy and/or 2) still be an effective pitcher, he might be willing to take a discount. 1-year at $3 to $4 million I would think is reasonable to offer to Oswalt. Going by $/WAR you are asking him to be a league average pitcher, which is still very possible for him.
Set-up Future Rotation
One of the trepidations that my Tarp Talk co-host David Wishinksy had about this seasons rotation is that it could force some of the younger, not quite ready, arms to start their arbitration clocks, and I lean toward this line of thinking as well. If the A’s are really aiming to make a run in the 2014-2015 seasons and banking on the young guns to anchor that run, it would not be fiscally prudent to get them to arbitration earlier than need be. Think about it. If Parker, Peacock, Milone, etc., are as good as advertised, heck even slightly above average, they could cost the A’s a fair amount of money to keep around. The nice thing about having Oswalt this season is that he can block, in a good way, the younger arms and allow them to fully develop in the minors.
This is what I mean. Depending on what projections you look at, Oswalt will make anywhere between 22-25 starts this year. Having Oswalt in the mix you can use him to bridge the gap to Brett Anderson, who is looking at an August return. And if he is still healthy, he can then make spots starts down the line. Assuming this, your rotation now looks like:
For a team that is not going to contend this year, that is a pretty decent rotation.
Going by the numbers, Oswalt is still a viable option. With a GB% of 45.1 last year, he could get away with pitching in most parks but could really thrive in Oakland. Having pitched in a band box for the last couple of seasons, going to the AL West could only make him better. His GB/FB ratio is on the right side of 1.o, although steadily decreasing the last three years. He has never been a heavy flyball pitchers (a career FB% of 32.4) and he is around league average for his career HR/FB% at 8.8. But all of that changes with his injury history and age. Your fastball loses zip. Your slider is not as tight. Your curveball is not as sharp. All of this makes Oakland even more intriguing.
Much like the Manny Ramirez singing, Oswalt is a low-risk signing. If you prescribe to the “clubhouse leader” or “mentor” idea, he could a huge value to the younger pitchers. The more I look at it though, it just looks like a very logical signing for the A’s that I would like to see them make.
David can be found on Twitter opining on the Athletics and baseball in general at @oakfaninva. Follow @FS_SwinginAs for more updates. Like podcasts? Consider checking out the show David hosts called Tarp Talk.