The Texas Rangers are probably the best team in baseball, and that is, in large part, because they are also the smartest. Nolan Ryan took a gamble today, and it’s the best kind of gamble: one that doesn’t cost a lot of money and one with a good probability of delivering some dividends.
Roy Oswalt is one of the most underrated pitchers of the new century. With the Houston Astros from 2004-2009, he was 94-53. In 2009 he had a little back trouble. The next season he was 6-12 with the Astros with a more than respectable 3.42 ERA before the formerly best and smartest team in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies, snagged him away from Houston. He was brilliant in the second half of the season, 7-1 and 1.74. He had a little back trouble again, and he closed out at only 9-10. But his ERA, 3.69,wasn’t bad.
Yet the Phillies gave up on him and left Oswalt dangling as a free
agent. I wonder, after the loss of Roy Halliday earlier this week, if
they’d like to rethink that move? Anyway, he’s been sitting around
waiting for calls, and apparently no one connected with the Yankees –
and, for that matter, the Mets – could find his number.
I don’t get it. Here’s a 34-year old – not old for someone with his
experience and flawless pitching mechanics (watch the slo-mo video
below) – who, by the standards of modern major league market value, was
available for peanuts.
What did the Yankees or Mets have to lose by giving him a shot?
Don’t they – doesn’t nearly every team – need to shore up their starting
I fully expected to wake up this morning to the pleasant news that
Oswalt would soon have a white or orange NY on his cap. Instead, the
best team in baseball, the smartest team in baseball, rolled the dice in
what, really, amounts to a low stakes game. If you’re a Yankee fan and
the rotation falls apart coming down the stretch – a pretty good bet,
I’d say, judging from the first quarter of the season — then remember
that they probably could have had Oswalt for about the revenue they pull
in from just a single home game.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2012