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Rumor Mill: Roy Oswalt

The latest on free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt is a report that the Rangers plan to meet with the former Astros ace Monday... If he is still a free agent by then.

That report comes from the Dallas Morning news which says, up to this point, Texas has not made an offer to Oswalt.

Several reports from the national media indicate that Oswalt is near a deal with the Cardinals. He is said to prefer to remain in the national league and to want to re-unite with former Houston teammate Lance Berkman. The fact that the Redbirds are the defending World Series champions set to make a run at defending their title doesn't hurt, either.

But the Cardinals have consistently thrown cold water on the reports. At first they denied any interest at all. Now General Manager John Mozeliak has fallen back to the "no deal is in place" position.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons why Mozeliak would deny a deal with Oswalt is in place. First, he probably would need to trade a starting pitcher to make room for Oswalt. So by making it public information that the Birds had six starters and that they needed to get rid of one is going to put the team in a poorer bargaining position with other clubs. The birds would need to get rid of a guy like Jake Westbrook to get some salary relief to afford Oswalt. But other teams are going to offer less if they know the Cardinals are in a financial jam. Also, it isn't going to do anything for team morale if a trade is in the works to announce it -- and then have the deal fall apart. If Oswalt didn't pass his physical, it might be tough to pull back the potentially traded pitcher and have him play the season knowing that the club would have preferred to get rid of him.

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