Weekend mailbag spillover: Roy Oswalt

Yanks place five on BA's Top 20 NYPL prospects list
Can Phil Hughes re-emerge in the bullpen?

Man we’re an overzealous group. The 2011 regular season hasn’t officially concluded yet, the postseason is right around the corner, and yet the questions regarding next year’s rotation continue to fly in! It’s all good though; that’s part of being a fan and it makes for entertaining conversation! Anyway, RAB had a number of questions submitted regarding Roy Oswalt and whether or not he’d be a good fit for the Yankees rotation come 2012. Remember to use the always handy Submit A Tip box in the sidebar if you want to send in any questions.

As it currently stands, Roy Oswalt is in the process of concluding his five year, $73M contract.  There is a $16M mutual option for 2012 with a buyout cost of two million (which I imagine the Phillies will likely take advantage of).  That’s not to say though, that the Phils wouldn’t be interested in bringing him back on a more team friendly contract if that option were possible — although a lower cost would certainly warrant more potential suitors.  Unfortunately for Oswalt (who’s now 34 years old), he’s faced some setbacks this season due to back injuries.    However, the right-hander has mentioned that he’d like to continue pitching beyond this year, after speculation regarding his retirement arose while he spent significant time on the  disabled list earlier on in the season.  Should the Phillies allow him to test the open market this offseason, he’ll likely qualify as a Type-A free agent.

In terms of results, Roy has pitched to a 3.86 ERA/3.50 FIP/3.96 xFIP this season, spanning over the course of 133 innings pitched (good for an 8-11 record for the preordained NL World Series representative).  He’s averaging 6.02 K/9 (down from his career average of 7.35) and 2.17 BB/9 (which is basically right in line with his career average).  He’s also mitigated the long ball quite well (0.68 HR/9) in what is otherwise considered to be a fairly favorable hitter’s park.  He’s also maintained his reputation of forcing a respectable number of ground balls (44.8 GB%).  Oswalt’s .321 BABIP is certainly higher than his career norm of .297; that said, he’s done a pretty good job of stranding opposing baserunners ( 73.4 LOB%).  In terms of pitches, he primarily throws a plus fastball (11.6 wFB in 2011)  which hovers around 91 miles per hour, and a change up (which hasn’t been quite as effective this season, -4.1 wCH) approximately 20%  of the time.  He’ll also mix in a slider or curveball  occasionally, although neither pitch has been particularly impressive this year.In general, Oswalt’s been a fairly reliable (if not excellent) starter for the vast majority of his career.  Over the past ten seasons, he’s only failed to produce at least 30 starts twice.

For what it’s worth, he’s also been an All-Star three times and a Cy Young candidate six times.  That said, I would probably be in favor of the Yankees passing on Oswalt.  His contract would probably have to be reduced to approximately $8-10M (perhaps with some incentives), in order to make his likely 2-2.5 WAR justifiable.  Injuries can absolutely plague any pitcher, but by age 35, I’d assume the Yankees would be especially leery of those nagging back injuries that have become quite persistent over the years.  While I typically do not put a whole lot of stock into the whole NL pitcher narrative, there is that to consider as well.  Mostly what deters me from Roy, though, is the prospects that would have to be surrendered for what would undoubtedly be a short term agreement.

Yanks place five on BA's Top 20 NYPL prospects list
Can Phil Hughes re-emerge in the bullpen?
  • mike

    I can imagine Philly letting him go….too many injury concerns, need $ for Lee’s raise and for a closer, will be on the hook for Hamels in the coming year when he hits FA.

    Not saying the Yanks could/would/should sign him – welcome to the Nationals with a 2yr + 1 deal, Mr Oswalt – but his hitting FA wouldn’t surprise me

  • Monteroisdinero

    A lefty is preferable. SWB Yanks faced Oswalt this year. Montero got a hit off him. Always like to put that in there if I can.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I do not think his stuff would relate too well in the AL east. I believe the Yankees have already passed on him when they got Berkman last year. I hope they do not go there now.

    • CountryClub

      This isn’t really true. In fact, the yanks were annoyed when they found out how much money Houston picked up in that trade. It was reported that they would have had real interest if they knew they didn’t have to take on the whole financial risk.

  • Tiny Tim

    He’s got a bad back just like Aceves and just like Acevez we’ll pass on him and he’ll go to the Sox.


    Best rotation possibly in the history of baseball. Could shatter the team wins record for a season and take the 27 Yankees’ spot as the greatest team of all time.

    • Tom Zig

      The 5 aces meme would do a reunion tour.

    • Tom

      I think you mean?

      Could shatter the team wins record for a season and take the ’11 Red Sox spot as the greatest team of all time.

    • Jorge

      They’re actually in first place right now. Our minds are so blown by it all that we can’t physically comprehend to the point that we, instead, interpret it as their completely blowing the Wild Card. The number of games the Sox are actually in first place by is not known to man.

  • CMP

    Pass on Oswalt especially since if he’s Type A.

    The Yanks need to make a strong run at Darvish or Wilson.

    It scares me that the Blue Jays are the early favorite for Darvish. With all their young talent and farm system, if they add an ace, they’re gonna be tough over the next several years.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I read that bit on Darvish as well, but to say anyone is the early favorite on Darvish is kind of ridiculous. You know who’s the favorite to get Darvish? Whoever ponies the most up for his posting fee (if he’s posted).

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I say stand pat and wait until next year to sign one or more of the big name guys of the 2013 Free Agent class like Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, James Shields, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Also guys like Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Jeremy Guthrie, and Shawn Marcum aren’t bad fallback’s either.

      • CMP

        Hamels is the guy I’d love to have in Yankee stadium.

        In 2013, Swisher and Burnett’s contracts come off the books and Matt Kemp plus those starters you mentioned could all be available.

        • Sarah

          Plus one for Hamels.

          I wonder if the right trade package could persuade Philly to move him this off-season with only the one year left on his contract.

          • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

            Ugh. I wouldn’t trade for Hamels. It’d likely take a top prospect or two to get him since he’s such a good talent. I’d rather wait until he becomes a Free Agent. I don’t wanna give any top prospects to the Phillies, period.

            • Finster

              I doubt he ever becomes a free agent, unless he falls apart before he signs a deal with Philly. Alot of people forget that other teams spend money also, and the Phils are definately one of those teams. I also wouldnt trade with the philies, but I think the question is moot. The Philies arent trading Hammels.

      • Finster

        No one the Philies dont sign Hamels, he will never see the open free agent market, they will give him market value. I can see the Rays trading shields this offseason, with Moore as his replacement on the staff. If Shields get traded, he may sign an extension with his new team, especially if its one with money and not a Milwaukee type team. Dan Haren you figure, if he stays healthy could easily be extend during the season by the Angles. Same can be said for Santana. Just becasue the Angles let Lackey go doesnt mean they will let those guys go, they did sign Weaver before hitting FA. Never know about the Giants, Cain could hit FA. My point is you cant expect any of those guys to be available.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      No Wilson for me thanks.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    only sign him if he has a stem cell procdure in the off season.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      But if he does, he’ll just tire after the All-Star break anyway.

  • James

    Yes, he’s a Type A free agent, but what are the odds Philly offers him arbitration? He’d probably get the 16 million option in arbitration anyway, and it’s doubtful he’d get much more than that guaranteed on the market. So if Philly offers arbitration, I think he’d probably accept. And they probably know that. So if they don’t want him, they won’t offer.

    • Ted Nelson

      Good point.

  • Tom Zig

    No thank you to Roy Oswalt. He’s got 2010 Javy Vazquez written alllllll over him.

    • CMP

      Now that Javy got his fastball back in the 2nd half, don’t be too sure Cashman won’t go for the hat trick.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        Javy’s second half was incredible, I never thought he could pitch like that again. It seems like he’ll retire this offseason so I’m glad he finished his career that strong.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          I don’t even wanna look at Javy’s second half numbers this season. I’ll probably puke. At least we got that Sandwich pick for Javy that ended up being Dante Bichette Jr.

          • CP

            The most interesting thing is that he got his velocity back. He was down in 2010 and the first half of 2011, but then it came back.


            It’s not surprising that the results followed.

            • Bavarian Yankee

              maybe he really just had a dead arm and suddenly the velocity came back. Out of nowhere.

            • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

              That’s a great observation CP. Unfortunately for Oswalt, I think the velocity hasn’t been entirely consistant though since coming back from the myriad of injuries experienced earlier on this season.

              There was actually a really interesting article published recently over at Fangraphs that discussed how when he hits the 91.5 mph threshold on the radar gun he has been fairly effective. When his velocity drops below that mark, his results balloon.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    i could care less if Darvish ends up elsewhere…i’m not a big fan of Japanese pitchers, specially those with a lot of hype.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I don’t want Oswalt in our rotation next year. If at all then it has to be a 1 year deal.

    I think/hope the rotation will be something like this:

    CC – no doubter, even if he opts out he’ll be back.
    Wilson or Darvish –
    Garcia or Colon or FA

    CC is a no doubter, even if he opts out he’ll be back.
    I think/hope we’ll get one of Wilson/Darvish but not both. I’d like to see Darvish but my gut tells me that Wilson is more likely.
    Nova will be in the rotation as well, he’s earned it and pitched better than I expected.
    Burnett will definitly be in the rotation imo and I have no problem with that. They have to get him right though but the last starts have been promising. If he fvcks up again they can always replace him in June or so by Banuelos, Warren …
    The last free spot will go to Garcia, Colon or another FA imo, I can’t see a prospect winning that spot yet, especially because of that ? behind Burnett. Maybe they bring back Garcia or Colon but only one of them. We have to see who’s on the market and makes sense (financially). I’d take Buehrle or Kuroda (seems like he’s going back to Japan though) on a 1 year contract over Garcia or Colon.

    Of course we can always trade for a starter but it’s almost impossible to predict that now ;)

    • Bavarian Yankee

      sry, totally forgot about Hughes. Seems likely that he’ll be the #3/#4 starter.

      • Plank

        Yeah, I think Hughes will be in the mix, but he has to earn a spot.

        I’m thinking it will be:

        Any two of:

        *Not out of spring training.

  • cranky

    Pass on Oswalt.
    He’s aged, he hasn’t looked all that good in 2011, and he’s never pitched in the AL.
    Pursue CJ Wilson.
    Pursue Dontrelle Willis as a reliever.
    Offer up a package of Phil Hughes+Austin Romine to the highest bidder.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    It does seem that he is on the brink of decline. I’d be hesitant, for sure.

    If the price is right on AND it wouldn’t cost us an “A,” then yeah, it’s a no-brainer – scoop him up.

    Otherwise, I say pass. Let’s get younger in the rotation.

  • MattG

    What are these ‘prospects’ of which you speak? Did the commissioner’s office pass a new rule requiring the Yankees surrender players for free agents?

    • Ted Nelson

      One prospect really… the pick they’d give up.

      • Ted Nelson

        Assuming Philly offers arb… which as James points out above is actually probably unlikely.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        if the new CBA still includes compensation and losing of draft picks.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    If the Yankees have to settle on a pitcher such as Oswalt 8-11 from the number 1 National League team then I pass. I would prefer a higher rated FA signing or exploration into the market and even another grooming of a AAA member moving up the chain even a signing such as a Colon or Garcia type.

    The Yankee have shown and proven that their are alternative choices out there which are just as good as a star name in his last years of his career.

    I’m quite pleased watching our young guys perfrom this last week or so. Maybe this is my expectation of them being groomed much as Nova was in 2010 ad 2011. Noesi this year maybe a backend spot filler in 2012. Though Hughes and Burnett maybe fighting new guys for number 4 and 5.

  • OXXbow

    To me it’s pretty simple: sign C. J. Wilson. He’s one of the better lefty starters around and southpaws are a big plus at Yankee Stadium.

  • OXXbow

    My understanding is that Oswalt want’s no part of the A.L. St. Louis may be where he lands.

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    Blech. Just looking at the offseason starting pitching options makes me want to wretch. There just doesn’t seem to be anything to get excited about.

    CJ @ Burnett money – No thanks
    Oswalt with the draft pick and the balky back – No thanks
    Yu Darvish and the likely insane posting fee – Most palatable option, but meh.

    It just feels that without something significant happening with the youngsters it’s going to be another scrapheap-and-pray season.

  • Lou

    Why do people keep referencing the draft pick? Even the author talks about giving up prospects. If the Phil’s are not willing to pcik up his option, then they shouldn’t be willing to offer him arbitration. It does make sense for the Phil’s to decline the option and paya $2M buyout and then offer arbitration which would gaurantee that Oswalt would make what the option was for. Brilliant. Basically, this approach would just give Roy an extra $2M.
    Not saying I want Roy, just saying this logic doesn’t exactly line you up for GM jobs.

    • Ted Nelson

      This has already been mentioned multiple times…

  • bdelia

    I guess im in the tiny minority but I want them to outbid the universe on darvish.

    • Plank

      I don’t care what they bid on him, but I really want Darvish to be a Yankee. I saw him pitch and he was awesome.

  • Finster

    CJ Wilson seems like a very good pitcher to me, I would be happy if the Yankees got him. Going into the season with CC, Wilson, Nova, Hughes, Burnett and keeping Freddy around as well. With pitchers in the system ready to fill in if Hughes/Burnett/Garcia falter. However, why hasnt Texas resigned him? Why are they just letting him walk? Texas has the money to play with the big boys, this isnt KC we are talking about. It should be a concern that his own team doesnt want to resign him. If texas does want him, he may not even be an option.

    • Sarah

      I think one of the primary objections to Wilson is his age and the length of a contract he’s going to want. He’s the wrong side of 30 and he’s not going to want a 2 or 3 year deal.

      But I would not be surprised to see Texas resign him.

      • Finster

        I would guess hes going to want a much longer deal than 2 or 3 years. I’m sure hes looking a very simalar deal to AJ. It seems just about all free agent signings you are paying them for a couple extra years at the end of the deal, when they are not producing at the same level, for what they can deliver in the first years of the deal. You just hope you dont get an AJ/Pavano, who never really delivered. CJ is only 30 right now so you would be signing for ages 31-35. There is risk there, but there is always is with pitching. CC maybe a bigger risk, I’m not sure how long a guy as large as he is can stay healthy.

  • Don Reid

    C.J. Wilson is the only known free agent pitcher worth gambling on at this point. The Yankees would be much better off to give the kids Noesi, Warren and Phelps a shot next season. Banuelos and Betances could also be considerations if they suddenly acquire command of their pitches during the winter months.

  • Finster

    I could see being able to make a trade for Lincecum or Cain. Cain a FA in 013 and Lincecum the following year. I dont see the Giants signing both of them. Cain will be 27 when he hits FA, so are Giants going to pony up 100+ mill on him and then the following year a better contract for Lincecum? I’m not sure what pitcher I would rather have but both are Ace’s. I can see the Giants signing Cain and trading Lincecum. Lincecum will be 29 when he hits FA. Seems they are going to be forced to trade one of them. The question is, after seeing Montero play, are the Yankees willing to now part with him. Clearly he wouldnt catch for the Giants. It would probably cost Beunlos and a couple other prospects as well. I still dont see the Yankees getting another top of the rotation pitcher without Montero going.

    • cgreen

      somehow the phillies traded for 3 ace pitchers (halladay, lee, and oswalt) and 1 stud OFer (pence) without giving up domonic brown. SO it is definitely possible (and probable seeing as how much montero has hit for already).

  • Plank

    Was there a weekend mailbag that I missed?