Danny Knobler dropped a potential hint about free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt's future earlier today. On Twitter, Knobler pointed out that the Oswalt market was officially down one Detroit team:
On Oswalt, I hear the Tigers were very interested (even had Verlander call him), but he didn't want to go to Detroit. May land in Boston.
Justin Verlander's pitch to Oswalt wasn't anywhere near as successful as the ones that helped him win both MVP and Cy Young honors in 2011. Whatever he said likely wasn't enough to sway Oswalt thanks to the righties most recent team -- "Hey, Roy, if you come to Detroit we'll have... well, one ace. It's just me, really. And every other start, Max." -- but the Red Sox appear to still be in on him.
Oswalt is running out of both teams able to sign him and time to be picked up, as it's approaching late January. Boston's trade of Marco Scutaro opened up some money and the possibility that Oswalt could be added to the Red Sox' rotation. A Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Roy Oswalt top four, even with the injury concerns involved, would be mighty impressive, especially in concert with the team's most likely devastating lineup.
That would leave the fifth spot open for competition -- it's sort of assumed that's a contest Daniel Bard will win, but he does have to beat out Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook, and maybe even Alfredo Aceves to do it. Just one question mark on Opening Day beats the two the Red Sox have sans Oswalt, though, and the effect of his existence in the rotation would both improve the bullpen and the team's overall starting pitching depth, too.
There's no word yet on how intense discussions between Oswalt and the Red Sox are, or any feeling for when a deal could be in place (if at all), but one more quality starter would go a long way for this team.