Roy Oswalt will not be starting the season with a team, and this in turn may be a really good thing.
Just like Roger Clemens did in 2006 and 2007, Oswalt will start the season unsigned and offer up his services to a Major League club at the midseason point, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
Oswalt is 159-93 with three All-Star appearances in 11 seasons with the Houston Astros and Phillies.
What does this mean for Oswalt? Is he a candidate to come back to the Phillies and boost their rotation in the second half of the season?
Two things come from this in regards to the Phillies. First, Oswalt is a much better pitcher after the All-Star Break as he showed with the Phillies in 2010. Also, the Phillies did something similar in 2009 when they signed Pedro Martinez at midseason.
Oswalt, 34, is a much better pitcher at this point than Martinez was in 2009. His services could be greatly used by any team looking to make a push in the second half of the season, including teams like the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Cardinals, Tigers and Rangers.
Last season, Oswalt had a major letdown of a season. Hampered by back problems, Oswalt pitched in only 23 games, his lowest total since 2003.
He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA. The velocity on his fastball was way down as a result to the back problems and it showed as he posted his lowest K/9 ratio in his career with a 6.0.
And worst of all, Oswalt broke down last season. For someone who has always been in great shape, seeing back problems and fatigue get to Oswalt was a first for his career.
This is why Oswalt can be the most effective as a midseason signing. Whether he’s back with the Phillies or not, be sure that he will be signing with a World Series contender as he looks to get that elusive first ring.
Oswalt still has something to offer. He’s just going to wait until someone is will to take the risk on a 34-year-old righty with back problems.