When I found out late afternoon/early evening on Sunday that the Yankees had lost out on Dan Haren, I was annoyed. Not crazily annoyed, but enough to give an “Aw [expletive]” and a snap, but that’s it. Anyway, the second thing I thought, after the expletive and snap, was that I hoped the Yankees wouldn’t pursue Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt.
By all means, Roy is a fantastic pitcher and is having a great year. He’s got a career high 8.37 K/9. His 3.45 xFIP is his lowest since 2005 (3.42). His BB/9 of 2.37 is on pace to be his highest since 2002 and would be the highest of his career, but that’s still under three. Oswalt’s definitely an underrated pitcher for his career and has bounced back from a relatively poor–by Oswalt standards at least–2009. He’d be a great asset for any team making a stretch run, much like the Yankees. However, I do not want the Yankees to trade for Oswalt.
My hesitance doesn’t necessarily come from the package that it would take because of the fact that Oswalt wants his $16MM option picked up if hie is traded (that’s what’s giving me pause). Since Oswalt wants that option guaranteed, the ‘Stros aren’t in a position to ask for too much in prospects. Something comparable to the Haren package could probably get it done. That $16MM option, though, is a real sticking point. If Oswalt doesn’t budge from that stance–which he said he might do for the Cardinals–there’s probably no chance he’s a Yankee.
And, frankly, if Oswalt does not want to reconsider his option stance, the Yankees should not be interested. That option could interfere with many things in the Yankees’ off-season plans. While I don’t think it would preclude them from getting Cliff Lee, it could preclude them from offering Javier Vazquez arbitration and reaping draft picks if he leaves. An Oswalt + Lee inclusive rotation would also force Phil Hughes out of the rotation unnecessarily if Andy Pettitte does not retire. If Pettitte does retire, then it works out fine. But, I don’t know if that’s a gamble the Yankees can afford to take, especially if they’re going after Lee. If they trade for Oswalt and decide to not go after Lee, I would not be very happy. At the end of the day, though, I don’t think the Yankees will acquire Roy Oswalt or do anything more than test the proverbial waters.
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