Cardinals pursuing Roy Oswalt to bolster rotation

By Editorial Staff

Yesterday at this time, Roy Oswalt appeared destined for Philadelphia to help fix some of the Phillies problems as they hang onto their playoff hopes by a thread. Today, that deal is just about dead because Philly doesn’t want to guarantee Oswalt’s $16 million option for 2012. Oswalt wants that money more than he wants out of Houston. But there are still plenty of interested teams in the Astros ace.

With Philadelphia out, the St. Louis Cardinals are the favorite to land Oswalt, according to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports. […]

"The Astros have been talking with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak for several days now, and Oswalt is quite amenable to go to St. Louis if the teams can agree on what players will head back to Houston.  For their part, the Cardinals are convinced that matching Roy Oswalt up with Dave Duncan would take a guy who is already an ace and turn him back into the Cy Young candidate he was a few years ago. I’ll stop believing stuff like that when Dave Duncan actually fails for once. Which I wouldn’t bet on, frankly.Of course, the big issue everyone has been talking about today has been Oswalt’s desire that his 2012 option be picked up.  That’s $16 million, and that ain’t hay.  My source tells me, however, that Oswalt would be willing to work with the Cardinals to make the option more palatable, possibly in terms of deferring some money.  The sides aren’t quite that far yet."

Oswalt is an intriguing option, but I’m not sold that he is the best or safest option for the Cardinals. It’s a stretch to think that Oswalt would immediately become a Cy Young candidate under Dave Duncan. Oswalt is 32 years old and his pitching will start to show it. He will lose velocity on his pitches by the end of his contract. He also seems susceptible to injury after racking up a ton of innings for Houston during the last decade. From afar, my gut feeling is that Oswalt is burning out and his All-Star days and Cy Young chances are in the rearview mirror. He may be a solid addition to the rotation, but he will only be a shell of the pitcher he once was. And that $16 million option is not worth it.

The Cardinals should exhaust every option before finalizing a deal for Oswalt. There are better and younger pitchers on the market. And the Cards have other needs. The team is on a tear since the All-Star break. A few additions in the right places could turn St. Louis into the best team in the National League. But the front office has to push the right buttons to conjure up that magic.

Oswalt would be the easy answer and a good one, but for 2010 and beyond, other names would take the Cards to another level. The trade my not be as easy, but the rewards would be beyond good.

Dan Haren is only 29 years old and he’s available. He has a lot more left in the tank and he has better stuff than Oswalt. The former Cards draft pick is the kind of piece that could put the Cardinals in the World Series. He is having a tough season on a losing team. A change in scenery would work wonders for Haren. I think St. Louis could turn him into that Cy Young candidate he has been in the past and give the Cardinals a monster rotation. His teammate Stephen Drew is also on the market. He has been rumored in deals to Detroit, but nothing has happened yet. Shortstop has been a trouble spot for St. Louis all season. Drew is good with the bat and glove and he is still developing. Some top prospects would be worth the price for these two. If the Cards could land Haren and Drew in one deal, they would instantly become the favorite in the NL.

Tune in later for more thoughts on the Arizona tandem and what they would bring to St. Louis.