The Texas Rangers have agreed to a contract with free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, Oswalt just turned down a deal from the Rangers over the weekend, and the club must have restructured their offer to make it more appealing to Oswalt.
I had the Rangers as a 4:3 favorite to sign Oswalt earlier this afternoon, and the favorite comes out on top. Oswalt isn’t expected to jump right into the Rangers rotation, and will more than likely make a few minor league starts before joining the team. The situation is similar to Andy Pettite’s signing with the Yankees, who was signed in mid-April and made four rehab starts before joining the major league rotation. Based on that timeframe, Oswalt could be ready to join the Rangers rotation in mid-June.
Oswalt’s signing is a huge blow to the Phillies, who just lost Roy Halladay for 6-8 weeks with a strained lat. The Phillies will now need to make do with internal options as opposed to a veteran who is familiar with the team.
As for Oswalt fitting in with the Rangers, I assume he’ll be earmarked for the rotation spot currently held by Scott Feldman. But Feldman was taking Neftali Feliz’s rotation spot, who is currently on the DL with an inflamed elbow. Could the Oswalt signing push Feliz to the bullpen, where he spent his entire career prior to this season? It’s certainly a possibility, but the Rangers bullpen is quite strong right now, and the addition of Feliz doesn’t seem like a necessity The rest of the Rangers rotation is pitching well, but do Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, or Matt Harrison have a higher ceiling than Feliz? I don’t think anyone would argue that point, but all are experienced starters who have pitched well for the Rangers.
Oswalt’s signing definitely makes the Rangers a better team, but it will likely create some more questions down the road. With the Angels heating up in the AL West, the Rangers probably wanted to nip them in the bud and continue their reign at the top of the division.
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UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal has just reported that the deal is for between $5 and $6 million.