Right after Roy Oswalt signed with the Texas Rangers, I wrote a feature about how the Rangers should have waited until the deadline to target an ace like Zack Greinke. Don't read it; it's terrible. A sample:
blah blah blah Rangers are so good and they have so many pitchers blah blah blah what's the point? blah blah blah they're guaranteed to make the playoffs so whatever
Since then, the Angels have made up some serious ground in the A.L. West, and the Rangers hit a little bit of a skid. It wasn't much of a skid, seeing as they've won seven of their last eight games. But it was enough to make you think they aren't the 1998 Yankees, despite what the run differential would suggest.
More importantly, they've had injuries. A bunch of them. The injury replacements have needed injury replacements. Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, and Alexei Ogando have all succumbed to injuries, which leaves the Rangers using Justin Grimm and Scott Feldman a heckuva lot more than they thought they would need to.
So that stupid stuff about Roy Oswalt being a luxury for the Rangers? Sorry about that. I had a deadline, and I think my blood sugar was low. It's now pretty clearly a great thing for the Rangers to have Oswalt and the depth he provides, especially through the slog of the regular season.
"There wasn't a wow factor, but he used both sides of the plate," Ryan said. "He threw strikes. He wasn't as sharp as he can be, but he wasn't wild. Ideally, if this was spring training, he'd have two more starts and be ready. But given the circumstances, we'll just have to review everything."
They might bring Oswalt up after just one more start, or they might give him those two starts.
The important thing is they have Oswalt now. If the injury wave had hit just a couple of weeks earlier, Oswalt would have had a lot more leverage, and he'd probably be a little richer. But consider this a raised glass in the general direction of Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and the Rangers organization. They were at the top of the charts, and they could have kicked back for a couple of months. Instead, when an opportunity to add pitching depth came up, they pounced.
And in the subsequent weeks, it was clear how quickly the pitching depth of any team can vanish. The Rangers didn't time it perfectly -- they still have the injuries and they still don't have Oswalt on the roster -- but they probably aren't freaking out quite as much about Derek Holland's shoulder or Neftali Feliz's elbow. Oswalt might not be an ace, but as long as he's the Roy Oswalt from last year, or anything close to it, the Rangers made a pretty nifty move.