Earlier this week the Philadelphia Phillies declined their 2012 option on starting pitcher Roy Oswalt, a decision that really came at no surprise considering the option would have been for $12.5 Million. Oswalt, despite missing significant time during 2011 due to injury, is still a quality pitcher even as he nears the end of his career but is no longer a pitcher worth that kind of payroll commitment. However, what if he were available on a short term team friendly deal?
William Yoder over at The Nats Blog took at look at that very question on Tuesday. Yoder argues in favor of such a deal, citing the uncertainty surrounding Philadelphia’s offense and the potentially appealing nature to serving as a mentor in Washington for the team’s young pitchers as reasons why Oswalt might consider coming to play for the Nationals. Yoder concludes that he has the type of work ethic that Mike Rizzo values and with Oswalt this team could potentially have a playoff caliber rotation.
No where within the post does Yoder speculate on what type of contract – be it in years or dollars – but given the right contract terms I’d have to fully agree with his thought process. The question then becomes, what are the “right contract terms”?
Ideally the team could offer him a one year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $6-8 Million. He’s certainly not going to get the $12 Million the option would have paid him had Philadelphia exercised it, but he won’t be settling for $2-3 Million either. The tricky part here, could be what other teams are bidding for his services. If another opportunity presents itself – remember this would have to be an NL team as he’s said in the past he doesn’t want to pitch in the American League – that would give him a better opportunity to win a World Series then you’d have to think Washington may not be his first choice.
At that point, adding a second year to the contract offer may be necessary. That’s where the situation becomes a little less clear. If Oswalt hadn’t suffered from minor injury concerns (namely to his back) over the past few seasons and I was more confident in his health moving forward then I think I’d be more amenable to the Nationals offering him a two year deal worth between $16-18 Million. However, unless they can get him to come to Washington on a one year deal – or even a one year deal with an option – that will pay the veteran right-hander under $8 Million then I don’t see Oswalt being a serious option for 2012.