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Rumor Mill: Cardinals close to deal with RHP Roy Oswalt

The Cardinals are close to signing former Astros ace Roy Oswalt to a one-year contract, according to a report from mlb.com.

Oswalt, who in 2010 asked Houston to trade him to St. Louis but instead was dealt to Philadelphia, apparently is prepared to accept the $5-million, one-year offer the Birds have had on the table for several weeks.

The Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers and Astros have been rumored to be intersted in Oswalt -- for a bargain basement price. And, all things considered, he would apparently pitch for St. Louis if all other things are equal.

I like the deal because I think Oswalt, at that price, is nothing but upside. The guy has ace stuff if he's healthy. And Busch Stadium will be the most pitcher-friendly ballpark he has ever called home. If Oswalt's back problems get the best of him, at least the Cardinals didn't have to shell out a long-term deal.

But the thing that worries me is the team's motivation.

The Birds appear to have no room at the inn, with Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook already filling out the rotation. I'm hoping one of those five isn't hurt. Because the most questionable two, healthwise, are the best two. Wainwright is recovering from major elbow surgery. And ace Carpenter pitched his arm off, carrying the Cardinals through the playoffs by throwing a ton of pitches -- including a couple of games on short rest.

As I mentioned earlier this week, another possibility is that the Cardinals have a trade in the works. If they could trade off Jake Westbrook, they'd have a better rotation -- for less money. Also on the block could be Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs, swingmen who are scaling the salary ranks without a clear place on the St. Louis roster.

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