By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. The latest transaction to hit Major League Baseball is that Roy Oswalt has signed a contract with the Texas Rangers.
The only specifics released by the Rangers so far is that it is a one year deal pending his physical.
The deal will allow the Rangers to move some pieces around and his experience could become very useful but at what cost?
The Rangers have been one of the forefront teams all season to sign Oswalt. With the recent injury to starter Neftali Feliz this move makes a lot of sense right now. What about in a month when Feliz is scheduled to be back?
This deal could present a problem for the Rangers rotation. Or could this be a blessing in disguise?
When Feliz comes back there could be another rotation spot that he can slide into. The Rangers have a lot of young arms that don’t have necessarily a lot of miles on them. The problem with them though is the increased work load they were subjected to last season.
Players like Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, in the rotation, saw their innings drastically increase over previous seasons. So at some point this season they both may need some time off and having a team that features 6 starters (7 if you include Scott Feldman) really becomes quite useful.
Alexi Ogando was moved into the bullpen in the postseason last season and he remains there now. He was moved out of the starting role because he grew tired towards the end of the season. As a starter though he was dominant enough to make the AL All-Star team. A similar fate may be in store for Feliz.
Feliz being moved back into the bullpen would be a scary thought for the rest of the American League. If they had that many quality arms in the bullpen the Rangers starters would only need to go about 5 or 6 innings and just keep the game close. With a bullpen that features Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, lightly used Koji Uehara, and Joe Nathan closing things out. Add Feliz in there and that is a daunting task for any offense that has to face them.
Oswalt could however anchor this rotation if they make the postseason. Colby Lewis has been a beast in the last two seasons when the calendar turns to October. Behind him however the starts have been spotty to say the least by the rest of the rotation. With a veteran like Oswalt who has postseason experience from when he was with the Astros and the Phillies this could be a formidable rotation.
He could also become a mentor for some of the younger pitchers as they do not have an established long tenured pitcher necessarily.
The longest tenured starter is Colby Lewis and he is only in his third year since coming back from Japan. This new and improved Lewis is suspect during the season and lights out in the postseason. He can not however guide some of the younger players through the season as he himself has to be watched with an extremely close eye for much of the season.
Oswalt will begin his time with the Rangers this weekend as he will make a AAA start and see if he is ready to be moved up.
Coming off the heels of the latest defeat I don’t know if Ranger fans can take too many more starts from Scott Feldman.
– Brian Boynton