According to reports out of Dallas, the Rangers are still kicking around the idea of bringing Roy Oswalt back to Texas.
That's a blow to those of us who have hoped that he would fall to the Cardinals at such a reasonable price that the local nine couldn't say no. At this point, I'm guessing that Oswalt would have to sign a one-year deal not only below market value -- but that he would have to be willing to at least entertain the idea that he could end up in the Redbirds bullpen.
And that won't happen if a team close to home offers him a guaranteed slot in its rotation.
Count me on the side of those who would like to see Oswalt in St. Louis. The guy is a proven winner and he's gutsy as can be. Yeah, he's had some health issues over the last couple of seasons. But his upside is so much greater than Jake Westbrook's that it's ridiculous. And if there is any position the Cardinals can afford to take a gamble with, it's the fifth starter slot.
Say the Birds trade Westbrook and insert Oswalt into the last spot in the rotation... Then the new guy gets hurt. The Cardinals have Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski, Kyle McClellan and others to choose from. I'm not sure in a short burst that those guys aren't better than Westbrook.
It's easy to dismiss the possibility of adding Oswalt because of his health -- just as it was easy for those who panned the Lance Berkman signing a year ago to point to the record books and say the Big Puma's knees were shot and his swing had slowed down.
But I know if Jake Westbrook is the fifth starter that he's probably going to pitch five innings a game to an ERA of somewhere between 4.50 and 5.00. Oswalt is a former ace who, when healthy, has shown the ability to be dominating. And even at 75 percent, I think the Cardinals would get more miles out of him than what they've got.