Late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes announced that Roy Oswalt would be making an announcement at some point on Thursday regarding his future.
Speculation ran rampant from that point that retirement was in the works, that he would join the Phillies on a minor league deal, or he was saving money on his car insurance by switching to Geico. We now know what lay ahead for Oswalt, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Sources tell Crasnick that Oswalt will sit out the beginning of the season (if nothing pops up), then offer up his services to a team around midseason.
This is essentially the same thing Roger Clemens did years ago.
Oswalt has not gotten the type of attention he was hoping to as a free agent. Reports had Oswalt looking for upwards of $8-10 million on a one year deal. And that was after the market evaporated.
It’s clear no team wants to give him what he so desires from a monetary standpoint. Oswalt will take his chances and look to latch on with a contender at mid-year.
His 2011 season with the Phillies was a mess for most part. He started off strong, going 3-1 in April with four straight quality starts. On April 27 in Arizona, his year took a turn as his family back in Mississippi was affected by tornados, ripping apart his hometown of Weir. His mind during that 3 1/3 inning start in Arizona was clearly on his family, but he also had back issues brewing.
Whether his back was injured prior to going back Mississippi, or he screwed it up while helping to clean up the debris from the storms, the damage had been done. On May 17, Oswalt returned and put together three straight decent performance before it unraveled.
The DL came calling in late June, with speculation that this back injury could be career-threatening. It wasn’t, but the rest of his season was hardly Oswalt-esque as he struggled with inconsistency in August and September.
Oswalt got the call in the Game 4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing five runs in six innings.
From the time he left to return to Weir, Phillies fans never saw the same Oswalt they’d grown to know after his acquisition just prior to the 2010 deadline. Little Roy went 7-1 over his first 12 starts with the Phils, and everyone in town was hooked.
But, by his standards, Oswalt’s 2011 was nightmarish. His head seems to be elsewhere and his back and failed him, to a degree. At one point, Oswalt mentioned that he’d have no trouble hanging up the cleats – that he didn’t need the money. He wanted to pitch at a high level, so if he couldn’t, he knew it’d be time.
With today’s news, Oswalt still believes he can help a team get over the top.