Unsurprisingly, Yanks uninterested in Oswalt

RAB on The Shore Sports Report
Stark: Yankees targeting 'versatile outfield bats'
AP Photo

It’s one of the rights of summer: if a big name player is available, the Yankees will be discussed as a landing spot, regardless of how much sense it makes. So naturally when Roy Oswalt went to his bosses in Houston and essentially demanded a trade, many saw it as a chance for the Yanks to jump in and upgrade the rotation. It doesn’t matter that the team already has more than $63M committed to it’s current rotation with a competent sixth starter in tow, or that they just picked up some more depth yesterday, it’s Roy Oswalt people! True Warrior™ status!

Anyway, a team official shot down the idea, telling Jon Heyman that “we like our starters,” which is a candidate for the obvious statement of the year award. Despite Javy Vazquez‘s early season awfulness, the rotation has a 3.70 ERA (sixth best in baseball), a 4.16 FIP, and a 4.20 xFIP, all strong marks. They’re averaging close to 19 outs recorded per start, which is a big help with a somewhat shaky bullpen. There’s always room for improvement, but given the cost, it’s not worth it to the Yanks.

First of all, let’s talk about the money. Oswalt is owed about $11.8M for the rest of this season, then another $16M next year, and then $2M to buy out his $16M option for 2012. Even if the trade was made two months from now at the deadline, that’s a commitment of $23M through the end of 2011. And remember, every dollar the Yankees take on is actually $1.40 because of the luxury tax. That $23M turns into $32.2M before he’d even throw a pitch. People laugh at the idea of the Yanks having a budget, but it’s very real, otherwise Johnny Damon or Matt Holliday or whoever would be in pinstripes. Hal Steinbrenner wouldn’t add $5.5M to the payroll last year for Mike Cameron, so $32.2M for what could be perceived as an unnecessary update would be a rather tough sell.

Then there’s the talent. Houston’s not just going to give their franchise pitcher away, and if they eat any of the money left on Oswalt’s contract, the better the prospects they’ll expect to receive. Just looking around for some comparable deals, I don’t think the Cliff Lee trade works because a) Lee is flat out better than Oswalt, and b) is much, much cheaper. The best comparison might just be Javy Vazquez, who fetched a top prospect, a young big leaguer with six years of team control, another decent prospect, and a live lower levels arm when the Braves acquired him from the White Sox. That’s a significant package.

The Yanks don’t have many high end prospects at the moment, so the Astros are going to ask for Jesus Montero or Austin Romine plus more. The Yanks could move someone like Hector Noesi or Jose Ramirez, but their trade value isn’t great because they’re still so far away. I’ve already seen a few people suggest that sending Javy back to Houston could work, which of course is completely nuts. Why would the Astros take him on when they’re trading Oswalt? Someone is going to need to explain this one to me, because it makes absolutely no sense. None of this mentions the righty’s history of back issues, either.

If the rotation had an obvious opening AND the Yanks had the financial flexibility AND enough prospects to spare, then yeah, it might make some sense. Given where the team is right now, with the second best record and the second best run differential in all of baseball, there’s no need to go out and make a move. Injuries are always a possibility, but Oswalt is a rather expensive back-up plan. Something would really have to go wrong for him to become an option.

Remember, the Yankees got through last season with three reliable veteran starters and (for all intents and purposes) a rookie in the 4th spot with a hodgepodge of mediocrity rounding things out. That same veteran front three is still intact this year, the rookie has been replaced by an equally young starter who’s been a bit better, and even with all his struggles, Vazquez is an upgrade over that last spot if he continues to rebound. Oswalt’s a big name and a really, really good pitcher that would make every team better, but there’s just not a realistic fit for the Yankees at this time.

RAB on The Shore Sports Report
Stark: Yankees targeting 'versatile outfield bats'
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    I’d pass on Oswalt. Where the hell would they fit him into the rotation?

    • CNight_UP

      Can be the 5th starter and put Hughes in the pen….we need A 7TH INNINGZ GUY!!1111

      • Tampa Yankee

        or Phil and Joba can unite and become “Jobil Hughberlain” the ultimate eighth inning guy!!1!11!

        • CNight_UP

          You took my hanging curveball comment, and hit an absolute BOMB….

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

      See that concern alone wouldn’t cause me to pass on Oswalt. Say the Dodgers wanted to deal Billingsley that maybe an option I’d be willing to pursue.

  • mike c

    we’re good for this year. JV is back, and Lee will be a FA next year

  • Tampa Yankee

    Things would have to really fall apart for the Yanks for them to even begin to think about a trade for Oswalt. I’d rather wait and go after Lee in the off season then try and make a trade this year.

  • A.D.

    If there’s one thing that’s strong it’s the rotation, outside of the last go-around. Stark had in his rumblings & grumblings Yanks looking for a flexible outfiled bat and named someone like DeJesus. I don’t think it’s necessary (assuming the team is healthy), as I’m fine with Thames/Miranda action at DH, and the OF we have shouldn’t need many days off.

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    Does Oswalt play OF?

    • A.D.

      His BA is only 13 pts lower than Winn this year, and has a cannon for an arm.

      • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

        Oswalt can be our 4th OF AND start (pitching) every 5 days, with the other 4 assuming PH/4OF role.

        mmmm… salivating.


    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      Career OPS+ of -2

  • CT Yankee

    M-E-T-S, Mets,Mets,Mets

  • Editor


  • A.D.

    Then there’s the talent. Houston’s not just going to give their franchise pitcher away, and if they eat any of the money left on Oswalt’s contract, the better the prospects they’ll expect to receive.

    Well according to Steve Phillips the Nats should trade Strasburg for him.

    • B-Rando

      Is that a for real thing Steve Phillips said?? Strasburg is going to be as good if not better than Oswalt in a very short time.

    • mustang

      Did you see whom Steve Phillips had an affair with? LOL
      We can’t really count on his opinion on anything after that.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I’m really shocked we’re not going to trade for Oswalt and make CC the other LOOGY in the pen. Shocked, really.

  • mustang

    “young starter who’s been a bit better”

    LMAO !!!!!

    I hope that was a joke.

    That’s like saying Bill Gates is a bit richer then Oprah Winfrey.

    • Rob NY

      Alex Rodriguez is a guy who hits a few more homeruns than Jacoby Ellsbury.

      • mustang


      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Haha, all sorts of awesome.

      • mustang

        Brett Gardner is a little faster then Jorge Posada.

        Sorry couldn’t pass that one up.

    • mustang

      This one falls under “RAB googles”

      Mister Delware.

    • Chris

      Joba through 8 starts last season had a 3.70 ERA and was striking out a batter an inning. Hughes through 8 starts has a 2.72 ERA and is striking out a batter an inning. Hughes has walked a few less batters and given up fewer home runs. Joba didn’t have problems as a starter last year until August, so at this point Hughes is a bit better than Joba was at the same point last year.

      • mustang

        We must be watching two different teams then?

        I watched Joba last year and Hughes this year and it’s not even close.

        and yes I’m talking about through the first 8 starts.

        • Chris

          Can you tell me (without looking it up) who Joba’s first 8 starts were against, and how many runs he gave up?

          No offense, but I would trust the stats over your (or my) memory of what happened in the first 8 starts. Down the stretch, Joba struggled significantly, but for the first 4 months of the year, he was very good.

          • mustang

            Ok here are the brake downs:


            And Yes I also trust my memory I can remember what Joba look like when he struggled and what Hughes looks like when he does. By my observation one is much better then the other and if we could go back to the video I think you would feel the same.

            • mustang

              Also please look at who they faced and where.

            • Chris

              Hughes is better than Joba was at this point. I agree with that. But the gap between the two is not that large – hence the statement that Hughes is a ‘bit better’.

              As for who they faced:

              Hughes: @BOS, BOS, @DET, @BAL, @NYM, CHW, LAA, @OAK
              Joba: @BOS, BOS, @DET, @BAL, MIN, CLE, @KCR, BAL

              So four of the 8 starts are the same. Of the other 4, the Angels are the highest scoring of the bunch and they are 7th in the AL in runs.

              Please explain how Hughes is much better than Joba was at this same point, because I don’t see it.

              • Pete

                but teh wins!!!

                • mustang

                  That. And before you say it I know wins is a meaningless stat. for starting pitcher.

                  • mustang

                    And if we could only just remember back ONE year ago maybe we could have some sense of there differences on the mound.

                    Damn long-term memory!!!

      • Evan in NYC

        My cat’s breath smells like cat good.


        • Evan in NYC

          Food, not good. I’m an idiot.

  • Poopy Pants

    Who is the ‘sixth starter in tow’?

  • yoo-boo

    I dont mind Oswalt but if Yanks wanted to give up a rich package then it had to be Cliff Lee or Josh Johnson or similar one.

    Yanks may be back into the race if no team is able to take him for original price. If Astros insist to get rid of him then 2B Adams, 3B Laird, SP Nova, RP Melancon ought to do a trick.

    • Carlosologist

      If at the deadline there is no demand for Oswalt, why the hell do the Yanks have to pick him up? There’s no room in the rotation for another quality SP; they already have five.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Because apparently, in yoo-boo’s head, the Astros won’t be able to find anyone to take Oswalt because the price will be too high, so then they’ll make the Yankees trade for him, even though we have no real use for him.

        Or something like that.

        • yoo-boo

          Sort of. It is a general idea just in case if Yanks actually want to add a veteran in the rotation due to whatever reason.

  • Pete

    I really want to just watch Jon Heyman ask Cash if he is interested in Roy Oswalt. I can see cash just saying, with brutal finality, “No.”

  • Paul

    Unless Houston is willing to go straight up Vasquez for Oswalt it makes no sense. I would rather see the Yanks wait and try to pick up Lee. BTW the Yanks could use a DH too.