Roy Oswalt Rumors
The Rockies opened the season as surprise contenders, and they remain just two games out of first place in the NL West. That's thanks largely to an offense that has hit a combined .273/.334/.449 and scored the third most runs (317) in MLB this season, however.
Colorado's rotation pitched to a reasonable 4.24 ERA in the season's first month, but they've posted a 4.75 mark over the past 30 days and a 5.35 mark in the past two weeks. The team recently released Jon Garland and has very little to show for its investment in Jeff Francis. Jhoulys Chacin has spent time on the disabled list already this season, and it's fair to wonder how many innings Jorge De La Rosa will be able to throw after totaling just 31 in 2012.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that help could be on the way, as Roy Oswalt is pitching well at Double-A Tulsa and could make a return to the Major Leagues as soon as next week. Oswalt is scheduled for what could be his final minor league start on Friday.
The 35-year-old right-hander, who signed a minor league deal with the Rockies in May, has a 2.88 ERA with 18 strikeouts and six walks in 25 innings for the Drillers thus far. Renck notes that he threw 95 pitches (62 strikes) in his most recent outing. His fastball sat at 92 mph and his topped out at 95.
Oswalt's contract contains an out clause that can be triggered on June 18. If he's not added to the Major League roster within three days of exercising that clause, he must be granted his release. Because he's currently slated to pitch on June 14, a June 19 promotion seems like a logical target. So how much could he earn, if that's when he's promoted?
Oswalt is set to earn the pro-rated version of a $2.3MM base salary when on the big league roster. If called up on June 19, that would mean the veteran would earn roughly $1.3MM for the remainder of the season (assuming he stays on the roster). On top of that, Oswalt is slated to receive a $400K roster bonus, and he has incentives for number of starts and innings pitched. Those incentives max out at 18 starts and 110 innings pitched, and they can earn Oswalt an additional $1.35MM and $1.25MM, respectively.
It's possible for Oswalt to reach both of those caps, though he would likely need to make all of his starts and average just over six innings per turn to do so. For comparison, Justin Verlander made 19 starts from June 19 through season's end last year, and he totaled 136 2/3 innings in that time. All told, if Oswalt is promoted next week, sticks in the rotation and pitches well, he could earn roughly $4.3MM from the Rockies in 2013.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will soon be fired, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal argues. "My guess is that Mattingly gets this series, and if things don’t go better, that’s it," Rosenthal says. "The Dodgers are off Thursday, then begin a five-game homestand against the Cardinals and Angels. You can look it up — managerial changes often occur on off-days before a homestand." The Dodgers are currently 17-25 after being swept by the Braves. Rosenthal notes that GM Ned Colletti might find himself on the hot seat as well, but that the typical pattern is for the manager to be the first out the door. When asked recently whether Mattingly would remain with the Dodgers through the end of the season, team president Stan Kasten replied, "I assume so," but noted that he expected the team to play better. Here's more from the NL West.
- Despite his hot start, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt isn't worried about money he might end up losing as a result of his recent extension, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. "You make the best decision at the time," says Goldschmidt. "I love it in Phoenix. I was happy we got a deal done. And I'm happy to get it done in spring training, so it didn't become a distraction." Heyman cites an anonymous agent who says that the extension could cost Goldschmidt $75MM. That seems like an exaggeration, but Goldschmidt could easily make his five year, $32MM deal look like a bargain from the Diamondbacks' perspective if he continues hitting anything resembling his current .335/.418/.645 pace.
- Didi Gregorius' surprising hitting so far in the big leagues is making the Diamondbacks' end of the Shin-Soo Choo / Trevor Bauer deal with the Reds and Indians look better with time. But Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonders whether Gregorius' hitting can last. No one in the last ten years has posted a career minor-league OPS below .725 (minimum 1,900 plate appearances) and a career major-league OPS above .741 (minimum 500 plate appearances). Gregorius had a .694 career minor-league OPS; his major-league OPS through 106 plate appearances is .884.
- Rockies pitcher Roy Oswalt will join the Double-A Tulsa Drillers on Tuesday and will make his first start on Friday, ROOT Sports' Tracy Ringolsby notes (on Twitter). Ringolsby projects Oswalt would make his fifth minor-league start June 14. Oswalt can opt out of his contract with the Rockies on either June 18 or June 28 if he has not been added to the big-league roster. Oswalt's command was strong in extended spring training, MLB.com's Thomas Harding notes (on Twitter).
Last week, the Rockies struck a deal with Roy Oswalt, signing him to a minor league pact with an eye on the 35-year-old joining their rotation and providing a boost as the season progresses. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides a very detailed breakdown...
- Oswalt will earn the pro-rated version of a $2.3MM base salary once he reaches the Major Leagues, and will make $15K per month in the meantime while in the minors.
- The contract includes a $400K roster bonus for being added to the big league club, $1.35MM of incentives for number of starts made, and $1.25MM worth of incentives for innings pitched.
- Oswalt will receive $250K for reaching eight, 10 and 12 starts. He will receive an additional $200K for his 14th, 16th and 18th starts.
- Oswalt will receive $100K for reaching 50 innings pitched, $150K for reaching 60 innings, and $200K every 10 innings from 70-110.
- The contract has out clauses on June 18 and June 28. If Oswalt is not on the Major League roster by either of those dates, he has the option to request his release if he is not promoted within 72 hours.
Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that Oswalt is out to re-establish himself as a quality Major League pitcher and repair the damage to his reputation. Many in the game have been turned off by Oswalt's late starts, his selectivity over where he will pitch and his inability to mesh with what was reportedly a very positive Rangers clubhouse in 2012.
According to Heyman, Oswalt wants to pitch beyond 2013, and that includes joining future teammates in Spring Training rather than sitting out the first month or two of the season as he's done in 2012-13.
Heyman also reports that the Rockies weren't the only team to show interest in Oswalt this time around, but the veteran rebuffed "a couple" of other offers to eventually sign with Colorado.
FRIDAY: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Oswalt will be able to earn more than $4MM should he reach all of the incentives in his contract.
The Rockies will send Oswalt to extended spring training, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets. It appears likely that the Rockies will eventually promote him if he pitches well in the minors, although that is not certain.
It's not yet clear what Oswalt's role with the Rockies might be, although he has said that he prefers to start. The Rockies' rotation currently includes Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis, Juan Nicasio, Jon Garland and Tyler Chatwood, with Jhoulys Chacin returning from injury to start on Sunday. Oswalt's deal contains out clauses, Renck writes.
Oswalt pitched 59 innings for the Rangers in 2012, with a 5.80 ERA but 9.0 K/9 and 1.68 BB/9. The righty has a 3.28 ERA in his career, pitching for the Astros, Phillies and Rangers. Oswalt did not rank in MLBTR's list of the offseason's top 50 free agents.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images (Matthew Emmons).
Here's today's look around baseball..
- Jamie Moyer won't rule out a return to pitching, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, but he noted that "it's not a dog and pony show" if he does pitch again. Moyer turned 50 last November and would be the first Major Leaguer to pitch at that age. Moyer tossed 53 2/3 innings for the Rockies last year.
- When asked if he would like to return to the Phillies, Roy Oswalt (on Twitter) said that he would love to come back to Philadelphia, as he enjoyed his time there. The hurler added that he hasn't felt this good since 2010 (link). Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, confirmed that the tweets were made by Oswalt and that his client wants to come back and pitch this year, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Garber "has not been in contact with any teams and does not plan to sell his client until his arm is ready," writes Gelb.
- Five years later, Jim Callis of Baseball America did a re-do of the 2008 draft. Callis' new draft has Buster Posey going first overall to the Rays, Brett Lawrie second to the Pirates, Eric Hosmer third to the Royals, and Alex Avila fourth to the Orioles.
- Teams have received their preliminary bonus pools for the 2013-14 international signing period, which begins on July 2, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Astros have the most to work with at $4.943MM, while the Nationals are last with $1.846MM. The pools are based on the reverse order of the 2012 Major League winning percentage.
Free agent righty Roy Oswalt is working out at Mississippi State and waiting for the right offer from a contender, agent Bob Garber of RMG Baseball tells MLBTR. Unlike a year ago, geography will not be a factor for Oswalt. Instead, he's focused entirely on pitching for a contender. Oswalt would be open to late inning relief in certain cases, though he prefers to start.
Oswalt, 35, signed with the Rangers in late May last year and pitched 59 innings without much success. Prior to 2012, Oswalt's illustrious career with the Astros and Phillies included three All-Star appearances and six seasons in which he placed sixth or better in the Cy Young voting. When asked about his client pitching for the Astros again, Garber conceded that Oswalt hopes to do so before he retires. Oswalt trails Joe Niekro by one win for the franchise record.
The Mets' search for bullpen help has led them to some prominent free agent relievers. The Mets are pursuing Jose Valverde, and would even consider bringing Francisco Rodriguez back to New York, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. However, a deal with Brian Wilson is now considered “very unlikely.”
The Mets are interested in signing Valverde, but only on their terms. Rubin suggests the Mets might be prepared to guarantee Valverde $4MM on a deal with significant incentives. Though the Mets have some interest in Rodriguez, he is believed to be seeking about $7MM, according to Rubin. Both free agent right-handers are clients of the Boras Corporation.
The Mets visited Roy Oswalt to convince him to join the team as its closer, Rubin reports. Oswalt is not interested in becoming a closer, so he’s no longer an option for GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets have one serious offer out to a late-inning reliever who’s not a closer, Rubin adds. The team expects to hear back from the player shortly.
Here's the latest from around the NL East...
- Though the Braves and Brian McCann have agreed to put extension talks on hold until the end of the season, GM Frank Wren said the team won't rule out re-opening talks during the season, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. McCann is entering his last contracted year with Atlanta.
- Over 19% of the Phillies' 2012 payroll was lost to time spent the disabled list, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News observes. Murphy notes that the Phils have lost over $100MM to injuries over the last five seasons, with approximately $64.5MM of that total coming from 2011 and 2012.
- We heard last week that the Mets were interested in Roy Oswalt, and the club "flirted with the idea" of using Oswalt as a late-game reliever and possible closer, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone reports. If the Mets are indeed looking for a veteran swingman, Cerrone suggests that Derek Lowe or Daisuke Matsuzaka could be possible fits.
- Shaun Marcum's Mets contract contains up to $4MM in incentive bonuses, which are outlined by the Associated Press (via ESPN New York's Adam Rubin).
- If Gio Gonzalez ends up facing a PED-related suspension, there aren't many optimal left-handed starting options left for the Nationals in free agency, MASNsports.com's Byron Kerr writes. A Gonzalez suspension would put added pressure on Ross Detwiler as Washington's only current left-handed starter, and Kerr lists a few other internal options. Earlier this offseason, the Nats non-tendered southpaw John Lannan, who signed with the Phillies.
8:15pm: Oswalt's agent Bob Garber says he's unaware of any interest the Mets may have in his client for the 2013 season, writes Marc Carig of Newsday.
1:32pm: The Mets are interested in free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt, and the door has not fully closed even with the addition of Shaun Marcum, a baseball source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. It was reported earlier this month that Oswalt was on the fence about pitching in 2013 and many teams had given up on trying to lure him back, sensing that he would choose to call it a career.
Oswalt hooked on with the Rangers on a minor league deal last summer and posted a 5.80 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in nine starts and eight relief appearances. The 35-year-old has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the last couple of years with issues ranging from lower back inflammation in 2011 to a forearm strain at the end of last season.
It has been six weeks since the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to terms on a three-year, $39MM contract. The holdup in finalizing the deal is concern with one of Napoli's hips and the team's desire to write protective language into the contract. Recently, we learned the Red Sox are continuing negotiations with Napoli, but would like to shorten the deal to just one year and have been in contact with the Nationals about Mike Morse. A major league source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this about Napoli's hip, "It’s one of those things where it could go anytime or five years from now. Nobody really knows, which is why the Red Sox want strong language after putting $40 million on the table for him.” Cafardo believes it's starting to make sense for the Red Sox to trade for Justin Morneau or to make Daniel Nava a first baseman/left fielder. More from Cafardo:
- That Kyle Lohse is still available at this late date is somewhat of a stunner to Cafardo. Lohse's market has been stunted with him being tied to draft pick compensation and that no one seems willing to go beyond two years, although several teams needs starting pitching and his stuff translates to both leagues.
- Draft pick compensation has also shrunk the market for Michael Bourn. Another factor, according to a NL GM, has been the Twins trading both Denard Span and Ben Revere and the Braves signing B.J. Upton.
- Cafardo thought it was strange for Justin Upton to reject his trade to Seattle since it's one of the nicest cities in the country and the fences at Safeco Field have been moved in.
- Cubs President Theo Epstein has come to realize Alfonso Soriano is an excellent clubhouse presence because of his willingness to help younger players. With that and his excellent 2012 season, Epstein wants a player of note in any deal where the Cubs eat a majority of the $36MM left on Soriano's contract.
- Discussions to include Garrett Jones in the Joel Hanrahan trade never progressed very far because "the Pirates really valued Jones highly," a major league source told Cafardo.
- One NL GM told Cafardo Roy Oswalt may still want to pitch, but on his terms and perhaps for only a half a season. Many teams have given up trying to persuade the 35-year-old to pitch, feeling the vibe is that he just doesn’t want it bad enough. Cafardo also notes Oswalt suffered a forearm strain at the end of his time with the Rangers last season.
- Bobby Valentine has turned down some opportunities to serve as an advisor for teams. Valentine has instead decided to focus on expanding his restaurant business, growing his film company, and working for NBC Sports since being fired as manager of the Red Sox.