Credit: Getty Images
Roy Oswalt is no longer an ace. But he doesn't have to be -- and the risk involved in his addition is minimal (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images).
Wednesday, May 30 at 5:32 PM
Roy Oswalt really wasn't very good in 2011. He still had a strikeout rate 20% better than Scott Feldman's career average. He also walked fewer hitters, allowed less home runs, and got about the same rate of groundballs. Add to that Scott Feldman having a 5.35 xFIP
with a .241 BABiP
this year and you realize that the bottom might fall out of Feldman's already bad 2012, causing him to burst out runs and hits and walks like a pinata at a quincenera.
A baseball quincenera, where the pinata doesn't have candy, but positive outcomes for batters. Consider that Roy Oswalt signed for very reasonable money (he's a very good bet to be worth the $5M salary paid to him, even in his shortened season) and there sits in front of a you a deal that's pretty hard to hate, and pretty easy to like.
Now, this isn't 2004 Roy Oswalt, which keeps this from being a deal for which you shout your love proclamation across a Dairy Queen parking lot. But ask yourself this: If Colby Lewis' hip takes a turn for the worse, or Matt Harrison has a nasty blister that makes him set the ball down for a week, or Derek Holland burns himself playing with his GI Joes, who would the Rangers have called? You might say Neil Ramirez or Martin Perez, but look at their performances this season. You might say Alexi Ogando or Robbie Ross, but three-inning starts suck. You might say Michael Kirkman, but that thought alone wounds me. The depth the Rangers had in the pre-season has quietly evaporated in-season. Roy Oswalt refills that.
KEVIN TURNER: I'm not sure how I feel about the Rangers' acquisition of Roy Oswalt. He is such a wildcard in many different ways. Is he healthy? How long will it take him to round into form? Will he wear spurs to the mound?
One thing seems plausible: Scott Feldman apparently wanted no part of staying in the starting rotation. He was given two starts against Seattle and fell short of five innings in each one. I do think the Rangers could have ridden this situation out a little longer with Feldman as the #5 man in the rotation, but with the Dodgers, Phillies, Angels, and probably several other teams showing significant interest in Oswalt, the Texas front office had to make a decision.
This also makes it more likely that the Rangers stay out of the Zack Grienke and Cole Hamels market should they be dangled at the trade deadline. The popular belief seems to be that the Rangers have an unlimited amount of money to spend, but that's not true. The money they are paying Cowboy Roy will probably make them far less likely to pursue Ole' Grienke or Hamels.
I love the idea of Feldman going back into the pen as the long man, and the idea of Neftali Feliz as a 5th bullpen arm gives me a case of the parties. Holy cow this bullpen is awesome. Throwing Feliz back into the bullpen mix possibly makes it the greatest postseason bullpen of all-time---assuming the Rangers make the playoffs.
So to wrap up my portion of this piece, I'm not sure if I like the move or not. I'll let Roy decide that. Sorry for not jumping out on a limb.
OR MOYAL: I think the Oswalt addition will help the 2012 Rangers.
I don't think it's an efficient way to spend $5-6 million, but Oswalt represents a substantial upgrade over Scott Feldman and (if he's not seriously hurt) Neftali Feliz. He's not necessarily needed here; Feldman is better than most teams' #5 starters and the rest of the squad is excellent. The Rangers are prohibitive favorites to win the AL West despite the rebirth of Albert Pujols and an 8-game Angels win streak. But he helps. And he should help in the playoffs. And he's insurance. And he's super-tight with Nolan.
I don't think Oswalt is better than a #3 starter, but I trust the Rangers' pro scouts, whose record in recent years is fairly close to 'impeccable.' Their seal of approval goes a long way toward convincing me he won't be a bust, that he's healthy, that he's worth $5 million. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of this move -- in principle. But Scott Feldman has looked decidedly subpar in 2012, and with the uncertainty surrounding Neftali Feliz's injury, adding a nice #3 starter on a 3-month rental seems a far more attractive idea.
I'm concerned that Nolan Ryan may have played too large a role here, placing his regard for Oswalt in front of the front office's recommendations. I'm concerned about how Oswalt will do in the American League. I'm concerned about him getting nostalgic, catching Houston Fever and quitting in-season to hang out at NASA, though that's less likely. But I'm OK with all of that, because this is a low-risk move with a pretty nice potential reward at its end.
I think Roy Oswalt could have done better. He could make more money and play a larger role elsewhere. But I think Roy Oswalt knows what he wants, and the Rangers lined up very well with his 'Pros/Cons' notepad. So I give this signing my entirely inconsequential seal of approval.