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Fire in Oswalt story won't die down

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012, at 8:54 AM

For weeks now Cardinals fans have been hearing of the prospects of having one of the team's arch rivals, Roy Oswalt, join forces.

At least twice so far, we have been convinced it wasn't going to happen, but for whatever reason the story just won't die.

Does that mean there is truth to the rumors? Not necessarily, but I believe there is. Cards General Manager John Mozeliak (almost) never addresses free agent negotiations until they are a done deal, and this time it may very well be.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported early Monday morning that the Cards may in fact trade RH reliever/starter Kyle McClellan who recently signed a $2.5 million deal with the club. The story listed the Baltimore Orioles as a potential trade partner.

Presumably, the trade would be to free up the difference in salary between the Cardinals offer and Oswalt's desired pay. The team and Oswalt are apart approximately $2,5 million and coincidentally, that is the amount of the contract the team just signed with McClellan.

Monday morning social networking signs were littered with tidbits about Oswalt's preferred destination. It was reported by multiple organizations that he has told the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Bluejays and Boston Red Sox that he is not interested.

That would presumably leave the Cardinals and Texas Rangers as the two teams left in the mix. The Rangers move, at least in my opinion, is more difficult because after signing Japanese sensation Yu Darvish they have six starting pitchers on the books. Seven would make things at bit crowded in Texas.

Of course, six would be crowded in St. Louis. That leaves a couple of possibilities.

Since Oswalt has supposedly made it clear that he has no interest in bullpen work, Westbrook is the most likely candidate to take the step down and be the team's highest paid long reliever in history. The other possibility is that being told he needs to move to the bullpen might be the motivation he would need to waive his no trade clause.

I can't put my finger on who at this point, but I feel like the team is eye-balling someone as a mid-season acquisition. There are a number of possibilities and others from the team that could be shopped during the season as well. I also think the team will be looking for money to spend on another big name next season. I've heard rumors regarding Josh Hamilton as a possible suitor if he doesn't re-sign with the Rangers this season. After finding out what he played through in the World Series (three and a half torn adductors and a torn abdominal muscle) I'm convinced he must be the toughest human alive. While he has faced his share of demons in life over the years, he's certainly proved what he can do on the field if he can remain healthy. This purely conjecture, but I wanted to mention it as a possibility anyway because the Cardinals have shown interest in him before.

Back to Oswalt, given the development of negotiations with other teams I expect a resolution on this sooner rather than later. I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect a resolution in the next 48 hours and, as I said a few weeks back, I also expect he will be wearing a Cardinals uniform.

Thanks for reading-CN

To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

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If Oswalt is used baggage, then what is Westbrook? I'll take the used baggage! Waino, Carp, Garcia, Oswalt, Lohse....Looks pretty good to me.

-- Posted by dukefan on Mon, Jan 30, 2012, at 10:51 AM


No way Oswalt signs to pitch out of the bullpen. In fact he and his agent have gone on record to say such things. He is going to start somewhere.

-- Posted by exzalmanian on Tue, Jan 31, 2012, at 9:12 AM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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