PHILADELPHIA: Pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt will pitch for the Red Sox after all, but only if he gets to do so near his home in Mississippi. Also, it's just a bullpen session; no one has been signed to anything. But, with May more than halfway finished and June starting to creep up, the words of Oswalt's agent from spring training-- that he would be open to signing anywhere once summer came -- are starting to have meaning.
With Clay Buchholz starting to come around, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett entrenched, Felix Doubront's first year as a starter in the bigs going very well, and Daniel Bard in the midst of a year-long experiment*, where exactly Oswalt would fit in right now on a team playing for both the present and the future is a question without an answer. But, the Red Sox front office wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't keep tabs on a pitcher who will be available in just a few weeks, especially since -- and Red Sox fans know this as well as anyone -- things can change due to injuries at any moment.
*Yes, Roy Oswalt would likely be a more productive starter in 2012 than Daniel Bard. But Bard's conversion isn't just for 2012, as we've discussed many a time before, and, while the bullpen would certainly welcome Bard back, that isn't exactly an area of need now, either. Ask Mark Melancon, Junichi Tazawa, and Clayton Mortensen about that, as they are spending their free time in Rhode Island instead of Boston due to the roster crunch.
One other thing that Rosenthal mentions: Oswalt looked like he was in "spring-training mode", so it's possible he wasn't throwing on the side constantly in order to be ready to jump in once he was ready. For a team on the fence about signing him, one wonders how much that will factor into their decision.