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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roy Oswalt: The Pitcher the Mets need?

Roy Oswalt made the sports talk show hosts around the country smile last week as he said he wanted to traded from the Astros, the only organization he has been a part of. He has since backed off the 'demand', but still said it might be in the team's best interest and he wants to go to a team that has a chance to win.

This year, the 32-year old (33 in August) has made 10 starts and thrown 69 innings, with a 2.35 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, although he has a 3-6 record to show for it (another exhibit on why win-loss record is irrelevant). His strike out rate is 9 K/9 (highest since his rookie year in 2001), and has a very good 2.22 W/9 (career 2.06 W/9).

For his career he's 140-76, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.20 WHIP; outstanding numbers for a 10-year career. He's made 30 starts every year since 2004, but last year only threw 181 innings due to back spasms.

After looking at those numbers, what team in baseball wouldn't want to add this guy to their rotation? He surely is better than the Mets #3-5 pitchers, and maybe even better than Pelfrey. It seems like a no-brainer to trade for Oswalt. Here are the reasons it won't happen:

  1. Oswalt's Contract: He's making 15 million this year, 16 million next year, and has an option for 2012 upwards of 25 million, or a buyout of 2 million. There are some rumors that in order for Oswalt to waive his full no-trade clause he wants that option automatically vested. That is a whole lot of money for a team to add, especially when ticket sales are down, and for a team who won't eat Gary Matthews Jr's 1.5 million dollars owed to him.
  2. Even if the Mets have the payroll ability to add that much money, it also comes down to what the Astros owner Moore (yes Moore is in charge of this trade more than Ed Wade in my opinion) will ask for in terms of prospects. They are expecting top prospects when history has shown when a team has to take on that much payroll, you aren't getting top prospects (Kazmir deal from TB to the Angels is one example). If the Astros would eat some of Oswalt's contract they could get a better prospect, but they have shown no willingness to do so from what I've heard.
  3. Does Oswalt even want to come to the Mets? Houston beat writer Alyson Footer of MLB.com said "he ain't going there folks" when asked about Oswalt to the Mets.
  4. If he was a free agent pitcher this off-season, you are looking at a 33 year old with a history of back problems who has received a couple epidural shots to control that pain. Would he get a one year 18 million dollar deal (the buyout of the ridiculous 25 million dollar option for 2012 included), or a two-year deal worth 40 million? I find that very hard to believe he would. Yet that is what a lot of Mets fans want the Mets to take on, in addition to the contract remaining this year.
Yes, Roy Oswalt would make the team better this year, but the better option would be to try to sign a better (and younger) Cliff Lee this off-season, where it wouldn't cost anything in terms of prospects. Going into this year, the Mets were a 81-84 win team. They have shown us nothing to change our opinion on that, and to add 8 million dollars this year (approximately half his 15 million dollar contract) and still not guarantee a playoff berth is not financially responsible. If the Mets were an 88- win team "on paper", then yes, I would be advocating that this move could push us over the top, but for a team that was in last place yesterday (and still tied for last place today), I can't justify it.

Plus, I DO NOT think Oswalt will be traded this year, as his contract is too much of a hindrance to any deal. So it was fun to talk about for a week, but back to reality and trying to win with the team we have. Plus who needs Oswalt when we have Dickey and Takahashi?

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