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Reds starting to sniff around Oswalt

While the Cardinals and Red Sox continue to tread water around Roy Oswalt, the Reds have begun to sniff around the former Astros ace.

Talk in Cincinatti is that former Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty is interested in signing the free agent pitcher to make a bid at winning the National League Central crown over the Brewers and Cardinals who were weakened by the loss of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, respectively.

But the Reds don't seem to have the budget to be a player. Oswalt is holding out because he doesn't like the $5 million offers the Redbirds and Red Sox have made to the pitcher. I don't see Cincinnati coming up with the cash to swoop in and pay Oswalt's $10 million asking price.

If they were to make a move, however, Oswalt would be an interesting gamble. The Reds ought to have a pretty good offense. But they don't appear on paper to be able to go toe-to-toe with the starting rotations of the Cardinals and the Brewers.

In St. Louis, Oswalt would be the fifth starter. In Cincinnati, he might be the second or third-best starter on the team. For the Cardinals, a team with a lot of depth in the rotation, Oswalt would represent upside on the back end. For the Reds, they would count on him to be a veteran anchor. So his problems with his balky back would be a much bigger risk.