Roy Oswalt Wants One Year and the St. Louis Cardinals Should Oblige


When word got out that Roy Oswalt was now looking for a one-year contract with hopes of rebuilding his value, I wonder if St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak ran to the phone? As of now the Cardinals are not reported to be among the suitors. I think Mozeliak should make the call. There are some players who are worth the risk and Oswalt is one of them. Even when he is not at his best, he is as at least as good as Kyle Lohse and definitely better than Jake Westbrook on their best days. If the fear is that he may only have 20 starts in him, I would take those 20 starts in a heartbeat.

Of course, a balky back is nothing to sneeze about for a pitcher. It can throw off the mechanics and cause harm elsewhere. Oswalt would have to submit to a fully comprehensive physical before a signing became official. Getting involved in the discussions and offering a contract on the conditions of a physical, doesn’t mean they have to sign him if the medical staff is leery of his condition.

Oswalt had been very durable up until last season. From 2004 through 2010 he threw at least 200 innings each season, except in 2008 when he tossed 181 1/3 frames. Last season in 23 starts (24 games) he compiled a 9-10 record with a 3.69 ERA (3.96 xFIP). These are not terrible numbers considering he played hurt a majority of the time.

There are a couple reasons why the Cardinals should look into this further. One, there is never enough pitching depth in the rotation. Having a sixth guy is not a hindrance it is a luxury. A luxury the Cardinals can afford. This is especially true when your ace is coming off surgery the previous season. Anyone who thinks that Adam Wainwright, who missed all of the 2011 season after having Tommy John surgery in February, is going to look exactly as he did in 2010 is not living in reality. While Kyle Lohse had a very good season and Westbrook pitched as well as any fifth starter in the league, would adding Oswalt hurt? Westbrook, could be pushed to the bullpen to provide long relief and spot starts if any of the other five starters were injured or if Wainwright isn’t quite ready in April.

The money that was saved with Albert Pujols heading to the Los Angeles Angels, can be split between Oswalt and Carlos Beltran or whoever the Cards sign to fill the outfield role they perceive to be a necessity. The Cardinals certainly run the risk of signing a pitcher who has had back issues for a couple years now. Last season, Oswalt was shut down at various times because of the pain he used to be able to deal with. If the Cardinals get into the mix here, the offers for Oswalt will probably be in the neighborhood of $10 million per year with performance incentives built in to make up for the injury risk involved in signing him. His 2.5 WAR in a “down” 2011 season would more than pay for that type of contract.

The upside for such a one-year deal with Oswalt should be very appealing. The fact that it is only one season is a plus in and of itself. Maybe Oswalt becomes more attractive if Beltran signs elsewhere thus eliminating the worry of two injury risk signings. Let’s see if Mozeliak picks up the phone. Oswalt would have to listen to an offer from the defending World Champions, wouldn’t he?

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Albert Pujols Cardinals Carlos Beltran Jake Westbrook Kyle Lohse Roy Oswalt St Louis Cardinals

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    Its a great story and I agree with what you wrote, the ONLY issue is John Mozelik, I just dont see him signing both, AS HE SHOULD !!

  • Bassntx

    I agree that would be nice, but you can’t trade Lohse or Westbrook to make room – they have no trade clauses.

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    @Bassntx of course they have no trades> Any fan knows that, BUT you cant have enough depth, there is no guarantee Wainio can carry a full load this year and who knows if anyone will get hurt. Westbrook can go to the pen as long relief and be there in case of an emergency , Look at Phillie last year, The Brewers as well, carrying 6 starters. For ONE year I will take Roy, and if he has a good year, he can replace Westbrook in 2013, its common since, and they have the money,,

  • Bassntx

    I realize that John, nut by the same token, westbrook is an innings eater. You lose that. Maybe use him as ling relief and spot starter. Maybe that would work. But you then have to make room for him in the bullpen. Trade McClellan maybe. I’d love seeing Roy O here. He always had the Cards as one of the teams he would accept a trade to prior to going to Phiily.

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    @Bassntx where on the same page, though I dont think you loose those innings with Roy..McClellan has been talked about as trade bait anyway, either him or Boggs, Boggs had an off year,so we have to see how he is in spring. They are rightie heavy now as it is already in the pen,. Even before considering Westbrook as relief.. So someone is going ! McClellan has been the one rumors are floating about.. Its funny I was just watching MLB best playoff games, and Motte did have 2 real bad games, He might not even be the true closer come spring..Thats where a trade might come in and put Motte back as a set up man.. there are so many ways they can go, IF they sign Beltran they added much needed depth, now it will be pitching depth they need to pursue ! I have heard from someone in St. Louis at the Ritz that Beltran is scheduled to check in tonight. That could be the start of PLAN B !

  • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

    @johnwvideo

  • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

    @johnwvideo

    You’re right, totally up to Mozeliak to pull the trigger. He seems risk averse.

  • mdenton84

    Such rotation depth would be nice, but like you said, it’s a luxury, and it’s one we can no longer afford. By my calculations, after signing Beltran, we only have a few million left in the payroll (after accounting for McClellan’s and Motte’s arbitration raises and the players with less than 3 years of service time). That’s certainly not enough for Oswalt and would be better used on some bench or bullpen depth and then saved for the trade deadline.

    By the way, why would we trade McClellan? Apart from the end of last year when he had to transition back to the bullpen after 4 months in the rotation, he’s one of our best relievers, our best right-handed reliever at getting lefties out, and our most experienced reliever (with 4 years of service time) after just Romero. Right now, we have Scrabble and Romero from the left side, and then Motte, McClellan, Salas, Lynn, Sanchez, and Boggs (probably headed back to AAA) from the right side. We could actually use more right-handed experience and depth in our bullpen while we make sure Sanchez comes back healthy; to see if Salas, Sanchez, and Lynn can repeat or build on their rookie performances; and to be prepared when someone ineveitably gets injured.

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    @mdenton84 For the same reason he was left out of the WS. My guess is you have not been reading the Cardinals.com or Rob Rains and others, they all have written about how they are so right handed heavy that there is a very good chance they could trade McClellan or Boggs. either for another closer type or to make room if they made a rotation change. he is the best available trade bait they have. There is no reason to think that Lynn, Salas and a healthy Sanchese wont perforn. I am actually not sold yet on Motte as the full time closer. Yes he closed out the series though he had 2 bad games. There is still work to do with pitching either in the rotation or the pen or both. They have the money. At this point all they have spent is Alberts, Puntos, Lairds last AAV to upgrade what they did so far. Whether they will use it or not is another story..

  • mdenton84

    @johnwvideo

    Ever heard of sophomore slumps? We don’t really know what to expect from those rookies next year. When you look at the actual list of our available relievers, we aren’t righty-heavy (especially experience-wise), and even if we were, McClellan is among the last guys we’d trade. He’s much more likely to succeed again (and succeed at a high level) once back in the bullpen full-time than the inexperienced sophomores. He’d also be the one to take over the closer’s role if Motte can’t handle it.

  • mdenton84

    As for the payroll*, Pujols, Punto, Laird, Theriot, Franklin, Miller, Tallet, and Batista made a combined $27.8M last year, while Carpenter and Schumaker took a combined $4.25M pay

    cut (subtracting the buyout of Carpenter’s option); but we then resigned Berkman with a $4M raise; resigned Furcal for $7M next year; signed Romero for $750K; signed Beltran for $13M

    next year; Wainwright (+$2.5M), Westbrook (+$500K), Molina (+$1.75M), and Garcia ($3.25M, pre-arb last year) have 2012 raises built into their contacts, McClellan gets an arbitration raise (estimated** +$1.325M), and Motte is arb-elgible for the first time (estimated** $1.7M).

    *Salaries courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts

    **Arbitration estimates by MLBTradeRumors.com

    If we exclude the tiny pre-arbitration salaries for both seasons to keep things simpler, we’ve actually already spent $3.725M more than last year’s opening day payroll of about

    $109M.

  • burner365

    @mdenton84 yep but we won the ws and made a bit more than 4 mill smart guy.

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