Pros & Cons of the Phillies Keeping Roy Oswalt – Phillies Nation

Pros & Cons of the Phillies Keeping Roy Oswalt

What to do with Roy #2? (Photo:

Wait, wait, wait, you’re thinking. “You’re crazy, right? Why would you even have to think about keeping Roy Oswalt next season? He’s ¼ of the greatest rotation ever assembled, so you’re an idiot. The dude has been insanely good here, what’s to think about?”

All fair points, my friend. But the fact of the matter is, there’s still a decision to be made. In 2012, Oswalt will be owed a great sum of money and the Phillies do have some pressing needs looking deeper into the future

One of those is certainly offense, which is right now a focal point for this team.

If they do keep him in 2012, the Phillies payroll will be over $126 million for 10 players, plus Brad Lidge’s $1.5 million option. Without Oswalt, it’s $112 million for nine players due to a $2 million opt-put clause in his deal.

Here are some pros and cons to keeping Roy Oswalt in 2012:


-The dude has been outstanding. With the Phillies he’s 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA. His WHIP is a ridiculous 0.93 over 17 starts. Oswalt’s K/9 is 7.7, better than it was with Houston.

-He’s owed $16 million in 2010, not a ridiculous amount considering he’s one of the 20 best pitchers in baseball. Plus, it’s only one year the Phillies payroll is out of hand. After 2012, there are only a few contracts remaining.

-Oswalt has been a model of consistency. Seven straight seasons he’s started 30 games or more.

-For all the talk about the back issues, this is only the third time Oswalt has been on the disabled list.

-Oswalt will turn 34 on August 29, meaning he’ll still be 34 for the better part of next season, still not quite “old” by industry standards.

-The guy is a workhorse. He’s a proverbial “bulldog” a guy who wants to shut you up and sit you down with a great array of pitches.

-Speaking of those pitches, Oswalt is still working them quite well. The fastball gets up to 94 and he’s added a devastating changeup. So if and when that fastball begins to lose velocity, he’s setting himself up for great years in his late 30s with solid secondary stuff.


-The Phillies don’t necessarily need the Four Aces. Three is plenty.

-If they don’t keep him, they can use that $16 million toward offense on the open market, or locking up existing players. Is shoring up the offense a more pressing need than having four aces?

-Of those existing players, Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins are two of the names that the Phillies could re-sign. Cole Hamels is also due for a major raise. If Oswalt comes off the books, it would help.

-While this only the third time being on the DL in his career, Oswalt has dealt with back issues his entire career. As he ages, will that continue to be the case?

-Roy Oswalt has stated that family comes first and baseball is secondary in his life. Might this be his last season anyway? If he walks away, he still gets $2 million with the option decline.

Vance Worley is young, but a youthful talent like him taking over could be a blessing in disguise.

-If the Phillies do decline Oswalt’s option, here are some not-so-awful names (no, they aren’t close to Oswalt’s caliber) that would likely be available at a cheaper cost (for one season – I understand these guys would likely want multi-year deals): Chris Carpenter, Edwin Jackson, Mark Buehrle, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis, CJ Wilson and Hiroki Kuroda.


Depending on how the season plays out, it seems fairly likely the Phillies will keep Oswalt around. But, they are faced with a ballooning payroll and a stagnant offense that is need of being reworked. This is not as easy as just saying yes.

Click to comment


  1. tyROBasaurus

    May 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I have a feeling he’s going to retire at the end of this season, regardless of the outcome. His back problems aren’t going away he seems ready to go back home. Let’s just hope he’ll retire a WFC.

  2. TheDipsy

    May 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Since we have no idea how much the Phillies really can spend, then this is a very difficult question to answer. If the Phillies are indeed somewhat “capped out”, then keeping Roy would be unwise. We need position players badly. I would think that the Phillies may entertain trading him at the deadline as it is. You only need three starting pitchers in the post season. I would think that trading Oswalt to a team that needs pitching to get them over the hump could bring them a lot. Whats up with his no trade clause?

    Lets face it. Signing Cliff, while I love him dearly, at the expense of ignoring the offense, was a misallocation of resources. All that money really could have improved us on offense. Now we are all pitching and nothing else.

    The Dipsy

  3. Bob in Bucks

    May 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Nice try but there is no question the Phils should sign him for the extension if he wants it. It is a mutual option so he has to want it but if he wants real money he should turn it down and become a free agent, He could easily get a 3-4 year contract at $75+ million. Now it would be interesting to discuss a multi-year contract.

    The real issue for the Phils is to lock up Hamels. I would pass on Oswalt longer term if that would finance a multi-year deal for Hamels.

  4. bacardipr05

    May 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Well they lose Olbanez an Lidge so theyll have some flexibility at that point. Baez comes off the book an JC comes off. They can fill one of them two spots with a Minor League talent. Rollins i dont think is going to command much money at this point.

    • Pat Gallen

      May 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      That flexibility is a misnomer – Howard and Lee get big time raises, plus Hamels will get a raise in arbitration. Blanton gets $2 million more (if he’s still here). So while some guys are gone, others are getting more.

  5. bacardipr05

    May 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    PS…Tyro i also think is a possibility of Oswalt retiring. Some of the stuff i read about him an hearing could indicate that. Seems like he is more into his family. Also if Blanton can get a few quality starts in him they can possibly move him opening up more room in the cap.

  6. Publius

    May 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    “Spending money to shore up the offense” makes sense….but have you SEEN the free agency crop next year? Outside of Prince and Pujols, whom the Phillies won’t be interested in, there really isn’t anyone who would be an immediate improvement. So while it’s a good theory, the fact is that unless we want a Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick or Nate McClouth patrolling the OF, there’s no real good way to spend that money.

    • Pat Gallen

      May 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      You’re probably right – not much available. But trades are certainly a possibility which would add payroll. And we all know that Ruben will pull anything off at any point.

  7. TheDipsy

    May 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    No way he gets that money at his age Bob.

    The Dipsy

  8. Bart Shart

    May 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    You pay a premium price for a premium team. If Oswalt is healthy and has a good year, then we should sign him. We could have gotten decent position players this year if Ruben got off his ass — Jeff Francoeur is one example of a decent right handed power hitter doing well with Kansas City. Pitching is still vital in baseball. We will say goodbye to Lidge and Ibanez and hopefully Blanton…. That accounts for $30 million. Pay Madson if he proves he can close.
    Pay Rollins if his request is reasonable, but let him go if he is ridiculous. Give Cole Hamels a raise if he deserves it.

    It is obvious that fans have no control over this team’s finances. But we fill the stadium and we have gotten used to a winner. We deserve to have a contender. It is up to management to supply one.

  9. Bart Shart

    May 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    One of the big question marks for this team is Chase Utley. Is this guy finished being a full-time fielder? That is a really touchy and important question. His current injury tends to be a chronic one. I pray he can stay a productive Phil for years to come. But you cannot help but wonder.

  10. RichieAllen

    May 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    We made a decision to get all that $tarting pitching,and because of that,we dont have much firepower.Multiply that by the Utley injury and its …..scratch for run city.
    But WHAT PLACE ARE WE IN?…Thats right FIRST.

    • Lefty

      May 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Exactly. A point I was sarcastically trying to make in a post on the last thread, but the simplicity of yours is better.

  11. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    You have to move a player with value to get everyday major league players right now.

    The pitcher who has by far the most value is Hamels. But he has the most value for a reason. So would have to be a deal that would blow you away.

    The regualr offensive players with value is really only victorino.
    If you were going to deal Utley or Rollins should have done it last off season. They had a lot more value then.

    There wil have to be a move made or the Braves will take division.

    I never site injuries as any type of a valid excuse for anything. They are a part of the game.
    Its like saying well if it wasnt for aging Schmidt would still be here hitting 40 homers. Thats life.

  12. Chuck

    May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I think making sure Cole Hamels is a Phillie for years to come is a much more pressing matter than Oswalt remaining here. I love the guy, but he MAY not be needed. Especially with the possibility of the emergence of Vance Worley.

    I said on the othere thread that Hamels is as close to “untouchable” as anyone. (In response to the suggestion that he be traded for Jose Bautista)

  13. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Also who can afford Oswalt? Besides the obvious Yankees and Red sox etc etc

    We really dont know how much the phils can pay out though. Maybe they can have a bigger pay roll. The red sox do and they have a stadium capacity that is 6000 plus seats fewer than the bank which is sold out every night.

    So maybe the pay roll can go up. Looking at what people make and will make next year I am assuming hoping it can go up. Or could get nasty.

  14. The Face

    May 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    We need to just win the whole damn thing this year. If we do, Roy will make the decision easy for us and retire. You can take that to the bank. We can worry about next year after that parade comes down Broad Street!

  15. Pat Gallen

    May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I like where The Face is. He’s thinking big.

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