Rangers Vs. Cardinals re-match. Battle for Oswalt
At the beginning of the off-season many thought that the Rangers, Nationals, or Red Sox would be in the mix for Roy Oswalt but the Nationals acquired Gio Gonzalez and the Red Sox took more of a low cost approach signing guys like Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva to minor league deals, while the Rangers spent around 11o million on Japanese star pitcher, Yu Darvish. However as time went by the Cardinals became linked to Oswalt, how could this be the Cardinals already had five starters? This interest must have just been over hyped right? Then Oswalt rejected deals from Boston and Detroit stating he wanted to lay for either the Cardinals or their World Series foe, the Texas Rangers. Both of these teams seemed to have no need for a starter with a surplus already, however the rumors kept wirling and then the Cardinals became linked to former starter Edwin Jackson as well, then trade rumors began swirling of Kyle Lohse, Jake Westrbook, and then the unthinkable happened, the Cardinals had signed Roy Oswalt pending a physical. Or so it was reported by several sources including MLB Network and ESPN.
However the Cardinals GM John Mozeliak denied that a deal had been made, and the news that Oswalt had signed had become nothing more than maybe a verbal agreement. Oswalt wants ten million, the Cardinals offered 7.5, and then the rumors with Baltimore began swirling, would the Cardinals make a huge deal and acquire someone like Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, or Brian Roberts? Well no, the Cardinals just wanted to dump the 2.5 million owed to Kyle McClellan and in return acquire a decent prospect. As we waited and waited for a deal to happen with Baltimore, Texas fired back with talks of trading former Oriole Koji Uehara and blocking the Cardinals from trading K-Mac. Then all of the sudden the Rangers were back in the mix for Oswalt setting up a meeting for today at some time in hopes of maybe stealing him from the Cardinals.
Now as time is dwindling in the off-season Oswalt is one of the best remaining free agents out there, if not the best. Will he sign with the Cardinals or Rangers one of the two teams in the 2011 World Series? I think so, he has basically stated it will be one of the two, and it also seems to depend on if he wants to play with former teammates Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran which will keep him in the NL which he wants, or the dream job of being in a rotation under the tutelage of Mike Maddux, and Nolan Ryan in a fan base near Houston where he pitched the majority of his career. Both teams would improve with the addition of Oswalt but I think the Cardinals need him more and I would love to see him here, it just goes to show you that the battle that led to the best world series of all time, is now carrying on as a rivalry to sign the best remaining free agent. Who will sign Oswalt? Only time will tell, I think we will find out sometime this week and I hope the deal is with the Cardinals.
But if he doesn’t sign with the Cardinals and instead joins the Rangers or another team, think about this: Edwin Jackson is still a free agent. Jackson was a big help in the Cardinals quest for the post season last year, he has a huge upside and is much younger than Oswalt. Though he may have a few problems to work out, mainly controlling his emotions similar to Jaime Garcia, I think Jackson could be an even bigger upgrade. The only downside on negotiations with Jackson is he wants more years and money than Oswalt, which the Cardinals just can’t afford right now, he would have to take a slight discount to stay with the Cardinals. The Cardinals must be afraid of Westbrook or are worried about an injury because these talks for a starter really have heightened in the last week or so, we shall see what is in store, and hopefully we will have more to report with the next few days.