We've not heard much this off-season about Roy Oswalt, which strikes me as somewhat strange. Considering that Oswalt now ranks among the three or four most interesting starting pitchers still available on the open market. And considering that something like 28 of the 30 teams in the majors could use a good starting pitcher.*
So I read with interest this tweet from Jerry Crasnick:
Interest in Roy Oswalt has picked up now that he has told clubs he only wants a 1-year deal.
Oswalt could certainly get more than one year if he wanted more than one year, which raises the obvious question: Why doesn't he want more than one year?
Two obvious possibilities:
1. He's just not sure he wants to pitch more than one more year. Oswalt's only 34, but he does seem like the sort of fellow who would rather be shooting squirrels than running around the country throwing a baseball and answering stupid questions from reporters.
2. After an injury-plagued, 9-10 season, Oswalt wants one year to reestablish himself as an ace before going for one last big contract after a stellar 2012 campaign.
Either way, Oswalt should be highly attractive to each of those 28 teams. With a one-year deal, there's relatively little risk involved. And more to the point, there are good reasons to think Oswalt can still pitch. While his record and his (3.69) ERA were nothing special, and his strikeout rate was the lowest of his career, Oswalt's walk and home-run rates were right in line with his career marks. Also, he pushed his strikeouts up after returning to the rotation in August after a six-week absence.
It's possible that Oswalt will never again show his Hall of Fame-caliber talents for more than a few weeks at a time. But if he passes the physical, he'll probably be worth whatever it takes to get him this winter.