34-year-old, 11-year veteran Roy Oswalt left the Philadelphia Phillies for a short time early in the 2011 campaign after his home county in Mississippi had tornadoes cause extensive damage and he was limited to 23 starts and 139.0 IP when issues resulting from a bulging disc in his back forced him to the DL on two separate occasions. The one-time Astros' draft pick (23rd Round in '96) acquired by the Phillies in a three-for-one deal that sent outfielder Anthony Gose, infielder Jonathan Villar and left-hander J.A. Happ to Houston in 2010 had his option for 2012 declined by Philadelphia and he wasn't offered arbitration which made him more attractive as a free agent this winter, but his insistence on a multi-year deal limited the market for the right-hander...
According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, the 6'0'', 190 lb pitcher with a career-3.21 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 7.35 K/9 and 2.09 BB/9 who finished the 2011 season (9-10) with a 3.69 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 33 BB (2.14 BB/9) and 93 K's (6.02 K/9) in the 23 starts he did make, has lowered his demands and is now willing to accept a one-year deal. "Oswalt wants to show his back is healthy, have a big year and go back on the market and try to get a multiyear contract next winter," Mr. Crasnick wrote on Twitter this afternoon (@JCrasnick), and with the right-hander willing to accept a one-year deal, the ESPN.com writer added, "Now at least 6 clubs are talking to him about 1-year contract."
Oswalt fits the description of the type of pitcher D.C. GM Mike Rizzo started the winter looking for, "... a good leader type of guy that's thrown a lot of innings, that has shown that he can win in the big leagues and [can] really lead our staff, not just by having the best stuff on the staff but by showing how to be a professional and how to be a winner and how to pitch 200 innings in a season many, many times in your career," as Rizzo himself described it. The Nats' general manager described Oswalt in an MLB Network Radio interview as a, "... a fiery competitive guy who comes right at you," and could be a good role model for Washington's pitchers, but according to reports by MLB.com's Bill Ladson the main obstacle was the right-hander's insistence on a multi-year deal.
"Washington only wants to give Oswalt a one-year deal loaded with incentives because he had problems with his back last year and made only 23 starts," the Nats MLB beat writer reported last week. ESPN.com's Mr. Crasnick listed Washington on Twitter today as a team that will likely have interest now that Oswalt's saying he's willing to accept a one-year offer. Of course, all of the other teams out there (Minnesota, New York (AL), Boston, Florida) that have expressed interest are going to be more likely to take a shot now that he's willing to take one year.
Jon Heyman's prediction in the CBSSports.com writer's pre-Winter Meetings prediction post was that Oswalt would end up taking a one-year/$11M dollar deal after, "A back injury and retirement talk," last season. He was rumored to be the Nats' backup plan to top target Mark Buehlre. Will Washington revisit talks with the right-hander's agent now that his demands have changed? The Nationals were linked to A's lefty Gio Gonzalez yesterday. Which pitcher would be a better fit in the nation's capital's Nats' rotation?