It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies’ payroll has ballooned in recent years. It takes veterans to win multiple division titles in Major League baseball, and it takes money to both acquire those veterans and keep them happy. Philadelphia, though, made the move to shed some of that salary today when they (somewhat) surprisingly opted not to pick up the options on starter Roy Oswalt and former closer Brad Lidge, and instead bought out their contracts.
Had the club chose to keep the former All-Star’s with their current contracts they would have had to pay a combined $28.5 million in salary, but the buyouts cost them just $3.5 million. It’s a smart move for Philadelphia who will likely attempt to re-sign both hurlers for a great discount, but it does cost them some security.
Under their current deals the Phillies knew for certain that they had Lidge and Oswalt under control for 2012. Now things aren’t so clear and other team’s, like the Washington Nationals, have the opportunity to play spoiler to a team in their own division. While the two veterans are likely comfortable in Philadelphia and view it as a place where they can try to win a World Series, the devastating injury to Ryan Howard and the growing inconsistency of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have to make them wonder, could Washington be a better fit?
To me, it seems Roy Oswalt would be a natural fit for Washington. The Nats have made it no secret that they want to add top-of-the-line veteran starters to bolster their young and talented rotation. And while Oswalt is nearing the end of his a dominant career, he has proven that he still has some gas in the tank.
Last season Oswalt went 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA for Philadelphia while striking out 93 in 139 innings pitched. It was an up-and-down year for the Missouri native who had the briefly leave the team when his hometown was struck by a massive tornado. Oswalt battled off-the-field issues and a few minor injury, but it may very well be the case that with those distractions behind him he may now be ready to focus on finishing his career on the right note.
He could also theoretically be a great influence on the Nats young starters. He is a guy who has been one of the better pitchers in the National league over the past decade, and has learned how to maintain a Cy Young caliber repertoire over the course of his career. He also is a “pitch to contact” type of hurler, which is an approach that Mike Rizzo has stated he very much appreciates.
In fact, his mold is very similar to Jordan Zimmermann’s. A slightly undersized right handed starter with great stuff. There’s no question that he could show Jay-Z a thing or two about the league.
If they were able to sign Oswalt, they potentially could have a rotation that looks like this:
- Stephen Strasburg
- Roy Oswalt
- Jordan Zimmermann
- John Lannan
- Brad Peacock/Tom Milone/ CM Wang
That’s a playoff caliber rotation.
ZNN 6"2 " 220 vs. Oswalt 6' 190. Not similar pitchers in any way other than throwing with their right arms.
Agree that Oswalt for three years would be better than Wilson for five.
Money quote: SI.com's Mr. Heyman says some are speculating that Wilson could get a deal similar to the 5-year/$82 million dollar deals the Red Sox gave John Lackey and the Yankees gave A.J. Burnett, and he quotes a source with the Rangers who says the deals are "terrible." The SI.com writer lists the, "... Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, Marlins and Royals," as teams that will likely pursue Wilson.
Let's take the Nationals off this lisr
I agree 100%. I think Oswalt was set to make $16m next year. He already has a $2m buyout in his pocket and he just turned 34. So he's probably going to take a pay cut. I'd much rather see the Nats give Oswalt something like 3 years/40m than see them pay C.J. Wilson $80m (or more) for 5 years (or more).
@futureme4 a little surprised to see ZINN listed at 6'2", in person he seems much smaller. Not sure how accurate those numbers are. They are both fastball slider curveball guys though with similar velocities in their prime.
I agree though. Oswalt for 2-3 years way better than Wilson.