Veteran right-hander and three-time All-Star Roy Oswalt has decided to retire, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Though he's retiring from playing the game, it looks as if Oswalt will join the business side of baseball, as Olney also adds that he will begin working with former agent Bob Garber.
That Oswalt, 36, made "only" three All-Star teams is somewhat surprising (to this writer at least), given his run of dominance in the early 2000s. In 2001, Oswalt finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, fifth in the Cy Young vote and 22nd in the MVP vote on the strength of a 2.73 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 141 2/3 innings (unfortunately for Oswalt, that was also Albert Pujols' rookie year).
Over the next 10 seasons with the Astros, Oswalt turned in a 3.24 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He was flipped to the Phillies in 2010 in exchange for Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ and Jonathan Villar (Gose and Happ have since been traded by Houston — both are Blue Jays — while Villar should be their shortstop in 2014). Oswalt was rock-solid in his two seasons with the Phillies when healthy (2.96 ERA in 221 2/3 innings) and helped to compose one of the most intimidating rotation quartets in recent history alongside Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
However, injuries began to pile up quickly for Oswalt, as his already troublesome back worsened and was joined by elbow and hamstring injuries over the next several seasons. Oswalt inked midseason deals with the Rangers and Rockies in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but pitched ineffectively in those hitter-friendly environments and didn't top 60 innings with either club.
Oswalt will retire with a lifetime 163-102 record to go with an outstanding 3.36 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. His 127 ERA+ indicates that even with his struggles in 2012-13, his work, on the whole, was 27 percent better than a league-average starter throughout his career. Though he never took home Cy Young honors, Oswalt had five finishes in the Top 5 and also had a sixth-place finish to his credit as well.
Baseball-Reference pegs Oswalt's career at 49.9 wins above replacement, and Fangraphs' valuation is a near-mirror image at 49.7 WAR. Oswalt earned roughly $97MM in his playing career, according to B-Ref. Looking beyond Major League Baseball, Oswalt twice represented the United States on a global scale, winning a Gold Medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics and also pitching for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
MLBTR wishes him well in his new career path and congratulates Oswalt on an excellent Major League career.