We're well into March, and Roy Oswalt is still a free agent. More, Roy Oswalt intends to remain a free agent until midseason. Roy Oswalt doesn't seem like the kind of guy who should go unsigned - he's not, I don't know, Brett Tomko - but we got here for two reasons. One, teams are worried about Roy Oswalt's health. He's not the most durable pitcher in the world, and he's 34 years old. Two, Oswalt's been picky. Oswalt's been very specific in saying he wants to play close to his family home in Mississippi. The Rangers count, but they didn't have room. The Cardinals count, but they didn't have room. The Royals count, but they're not supposed to be good, and Oswalt wants to win, too.
Oswalt supposedly turned down the Red Sox and the Tigers because he didn't want to play that far away. Everybody came to understand that Oswalt had something in mind, and he wasn't going to deviate from it.
Until now, when he's apparently deviated from it:
Roy Oswalt now telling teams he'll play anywhere. Until recently, he was focused on pitching close to his home in Mississippi— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) March 8, 2012
Oswalt still looking at possible June return. His kids will be out of school by then, so he can take the family wherever he goes— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) March 8, 2012
Roy Oswalt had closed so many doors. Almost all of the doors. Now he seems to be opening the doors back up, and while he's still not intending to sign for months, this makes him far more likely to sign on with a contender. Now he's not hoping for an opening with the Rangers or Cardinals. Now he's hoping for an opening anywhere. There will be openings. Someone will get hurt, or someone will underachieve, and there will be teams who like the idea of landing Roy Oswalt.
So this is pretty significant, even if Oswalt isn't going to do anything any time soon. If he stays in shape and stays healthy, he should get a summer job, and maybe that summer job will even get him a championship.