With the Orioles off to their best start since 2005, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has made it no secret he’s looking to add pitching depth and veteran starter Roy Oswalt appears to be on his radar.
Baltimore is interested in the 34-year-old right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. After spending last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, Oswalt remains unsigned while being selective about wanting an opportunity to win with a team close to his home in Mississippi. He reportedly could seek an arrangement similar to Roger Clemens’ past run in Houston in which he was allowed to return home when not pitching for the club.
The Rangers have long been considered the frontrunner to land the three-time All-Star selection, and they remain in the mix along with the Red Sox and Philadelphia among others, per Heyman. With Oswalt wanting the best chance to play for a championship, it will be a tough sell for the Orioles even after a 28-17 start.
Oswalt was 9-10 with a 3.69 earned run average in 23 starts last season and has won 159 games in his 11-year career in the big leagues. He has spent that entire span in the National League, most of that coming with the Houston Astros before being dealt to the Phillies during the 2010 season.
While no longer the perennial Cy Young Award candidate he was a few years ago, the veteran would provide much-needed experience to the Orioles’ starting rotation whose current five starters are all under 30. After an impressive start, the rotation has struggled to get deep into games in recent weeks, putting more strain on their superb bullpen.
With left-hander Zach Britton close to returning to the big leagues after dealing with a shoulder injury, the Orioles would find themselves with two intriguing options for the rotation if they could entice Oswalt to come to Baltimore.
This would undoubtedly put struggling starters Tommy Hunter and Jake Arrieta under pressure to perform or risk being sent to the bullpen — or even the minors.
Oswalt made $16 million in 2011, but Houston paid $7 million of that salary as a part of the trade agreement with the Phillies.