Roy Oswalt Rumors
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.
The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (links go to Twitter)...
- There’s no word from Roy Oswalt on whether he’ll pitch in 2013, Heyman reports.
- The Astros would have to be overwhelmed to trade Jed Lowrie, according to Heyman. However, the Astros have talked to teams such as the Cardinals and Rangers about possible deals involving Bud Norris. Norris, 27, goes to arbitration for the first time this offseason following a 2012 campaign in which he posted a 4.65 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 168 1/3 innings. Even after a mixed platform season, Norris will do reasonably well in arbitration thanks to his career total of 563 2/3 innings. MLBTR projects a salary of $2.9MM.
- The Tigers had almost a dozen calls about Rick Porcello within a few hours of their agreement with right-hander Anibal Sanchez, Knobler reports. The Tigers are expected to trade Porcello, who’s second time arbitration eligible with a projected salary of $4.7MM. The Cubs called, but there's no match, Knobler adds.
- The Twins aren't done adding pitching, Heyman reports.
Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:
- Roy Oswalt is unsure about whether he'll pitch in 2013, one of his agents tells Morosi.
- The Mariners checked in on Delmon Young, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi reported previously that Young might wait until January to sign given his November ankle surgery.
- Grady Sizemore had been drawing interest from a few clubs, including the Red Sox, but he won't be a real option until midseason, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Agent Joe Urbon confirmed to Castrovince that his client underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.
- Besides being interested in Scott Hairston, the Yankees are also eyeing Cody Ross, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Mariners have checked in on Ryan Ludwick, among other hitters, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Cesar Izturis' reps are expected to meet with the Mets this week and there could be a match there, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Orioles' interest in righty Brett Myers appears minimal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and they have no meetings set up with his reps.
- The Twins are one team with early interest in southpaw John Lannan, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Pirates also have an eye on Lannan, reported Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier today.
- The Cubs are talking to many agents about bullpen help and they like Jason Grilli, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Solid interest in Jason Bay (from teams other than Boston) may lead to a Major League deal, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
- The Marlins are interested in utility man Mark DeRosa, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old had indicated at season's end that he was unsure what his future held.
- The Royals are "sending out signals" that they have the money and the motivation to pursue a pitcher who could be considered a No. 1, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. A run at Anibal Sanchez isn't out of the question for Kansas City, according to Knobler.
- Tigers people continue to say the team isn't even considering Rafael Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, Sherman notes that owner Mike Ilitch's great relationship with Scott Boras still makes Detroit a wild card in the Soriano sweepstakes.
- Rival executives view the Nationals as a good fit for Mike Pelfrey, especially considering GM Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras have a history of working out deals, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks).
- Teams are showing "no hesitation whatsoever" in pursuing Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery to repair a right fibula fracture, agent Keith Grunewald tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitterlinks).
- Jason Giambi would like to continue his playing career, and is drawing interest from three or four teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The Padres announced that the ownership group led by the Seidler/O’Malley families and Ron Fowler completed the purchase of the team for $800MM. Fowler is the team’s control person and the ownership group includes two sons and two nephews of Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers’ longtime owner. Tom Garfinkel will stay on as the Padres' president and CEO and Josh Byrnes will remain the team’s executive VP and general manager.
Here are today’s NL West links...
- The Padres' new owners offered more platitudes than specifics when addressing the media today, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The owners didn't say where the team's payroll will sit.
- The Dodgers continue spending aggressively, but it doesn’t seem to bother the Diamondbacks’ top officials. Managing general partner Ken Kendrick told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he has “no problem competing with these folks." Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said "there is so much more to building a championship team than just exorbitant salaries."
- The Diamondbacks will be able to contend with the Dodgers if their young core of starting pitchers can stay healthy and perform, Piecoro writes. If pitchers such as Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley and Trevor Bauer can continue to pitch effectively as pre-arbitration eligible players, Arizona can spend elsewhere. Relying on young starting pitching isn’t foolproof, but it’s been done before, as Piecoro explains.
- One Dodgers person didn’t seem enthused about the possibility of trading for Roy Oswalt, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Oswalt has cleared waivers and the Rangers will consider trading him. The Dodgers inquired on Oswalt, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.
3:45pm: Oswalt said he has been told he cleared waivers three weeks ago, Sullivan reports. The right-hander's contract doesn't include a no-trade clause.
12:23pm: The Rangers are talking to other teams about Oswalt and a trade is "possible," MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports. The Rangers are looking for utility infield help and aren't sure if they'll be able to move Oswalt.
Oswalt earns a base salary of $5MM this year -- approximately $1MM between now and the end of the season -- and he will hit free agency this fall. He has posted a 5.94 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 50 innings for Texas as a starter and reliever. Rosenthal reports that Oswalt wants to start and suggests the Dodgers could be a possibility. Los Angeles is known to be seeking starting pitching depth.
Here’s MLBTR’s list of players known to have cleared waivers.
The Indians snapped an 11-game losing streak today with a 6-2 victory over the Twins. The 11-game skid matched a franchise record, set four times previously in Tribe history. Avoiding a new futility record is of small consolation to the Indians, who were in wild card contention before their streak and now can only look ahead to 2013.
Here's the latest from around the majors....
- The Red Sox scouted Roy Oswalt and expressed interest in him earlier this season but they never made an offer, the veteran right-hander tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Oswalt also said that he didn't insist to pitch for a team close to his home in Mississippi, noting that he was "pretty close" to signing with the Dodgers before finally settling on a contract with the Rangers.
- Michael Bourn "strikes out a lot and doesn't have a great on-base percentage. He's going to be 30 years old, and guys his age do not get faster. I'd be careful," a scout tells Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phillies have been rumored to be interested in signing Bourn as a free agent this winter, with the Nationals and Braves also in the mix for the center fielder.
- Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry has embraced being a special-assignment scout for the Yankees, writes Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal. Brian Cashman said that Hendry played key roles in the signing of first-round draft pick Ty Hensley and in the team's recent trade for Casey McGehee.
- The dispute between the Athletics and the Giants over San Jose territorial rights "might be the most difficult decision in baseball history because of the circumstances," an MLB executive tells Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson. The executive says there is some belief that the Giants could break protocol and sue the league if the A's are allowed to move.
- Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres thinks the Padres made a good move in extending Carlos Quentin and Huston Street, though wonders if either player can "stay healthy in a heated pennant race."