Cheap Seats

Where have you gone, Roy Oswalt?

Pitchers and catchers are pitching and catching. But still former Astros ace Roy Oswalt is without a job.

The hurler has apparently struck out in bids to catch on with the Cardinals, Rangers and his latest club, the Phillies because of payroll concerns.

While the Cardinals originally were pretty firm in their denials of interest in Oswalt, that seems to have softened considerably. Yesterday at Camp Cardinals in Jupiter St. Louis GM John Mozeliak replied that the Cardinals were "open for business" when asked if he planned to talk to Oswalt's agent.

The implication seemed to be that if Oswalt wanted to play for St Louis, Mo's people are ready and waiting to take Roy's people's call. I think there was also a bit of implication that he was going to have to accept the Birds' offer of about $5 million.

Meanwhile, former St. Louis GM Walt Jocketty said his Reds aren't interested at all in Oswalt. Cincinnati heads to camp with a pretty tight budget -- and a roster full of ex-Cardinals who claim a lot these days that they REALLY wanted to play for the Reds all along. Ryan Ludwick mentioned that idea when he signed with Cincy last month. Brett Tomko, who has been a non-factor for most of his career before falling off the radar altogether in recent seasons, said the same thing within the week.

I guess their dream is to be traded to a contender in August. That's all I can figure.

It's difficult to determine what the Phillies are trying to do these days. Rumor was a couple of weeks ago that they were trying to trade Joe Blanton to make payroll room for Oswalt. But later Philadelphia downplayed the interest in their former hurler. And they talked with the Yankees about a swap that would have sent Blanton away in exchange for A.J Burnett.

While their are questions about Oswalt's health, Burnett's decline is well documented. So that's a head scratcher.