Do we need to hear about Roy Oswalt as if there’s a paparazzi crew stationed outside his home to see if he goes for a run or ventures to the nearby park with a baseball glove hanging over the handlebars of his bicycle?
The same type of attention was paid to Roger Clemens when he was vacillating as to whether he’d come out of retirement to rejoin his friend Andy Pettitte with the Yankees in 2007. The indecisiveness and flirtation were probably negotiation ploys to squeeze as much money as possible out of George Steinbrenner.
And it worked.
But was Clemens worth it?
He went 6-6 with reasonably good numbers across the board. He received a prorated $28 million for the year. It came to about $17.4 million for 18 games and 17 starts. The Yankees lost in the ALDS to the Indians and Clemens was knocked out of the box in the third inning of his game 3 start. If it’s any consolation, the Yankees eventually won that game 8-4.
In addition to all of that, we were treated/punished with Suzyn Waldman’s reaction to Clemens’s “dramatic” and overtly staged return, announced in a PA address from Steinbrenner’s box and immortalized with Waldman’s shrieking, screaming, and bellowing like she’d just been electrocuted or received a simultaneous shot of lidocaine and B12.
Can any team expect that much on the field from Oswalt?
Oswalt is a very good pitcher, but he’s just as likely to sign with a team and suddenly develop a recurrence of the back pain that sidelined him last year with the Phillies and, at the time, was thought to be season or career threatening. His back problems have been chronic. They disabled him in 2009 and 2011. He could sign with a club, throw 10 pitches and walk off the mound. We don’t know.
Teams who are interested in Oswalt will undoubtedly be attracted by the short-term nature of his contract (he’d only want to sign for the rest of this season) and that they’re not giving up anything other than money to get him. Before jumping in, they need to realize that it’s not Oswalt from 2008 or even the Oswalt from 2010 when he went on a tear after being traded to the Phillies. He hasn’t pitched and wouldn’t be ready until mid-late-June. By then, who knows what’s going to come available with struggling teams looking to clear veterans or make a splash by doing something drastic?
Zack Greinke or Matt Garza might be on the move. Of course they’d be more expensive in terms of players than Oswalt, but it has to be considered what the club is making the move for in the first place. If a team is getting Oswalt, it’s to try and win a title in 2012 and Greinke and Garza would be more conducive to that end than Oswalt.
Getting Oswalt would create headlines for a day, but the lasting memory could be glass-breaking wail from an excited broadcaster rather than on-field production.
In that case, it wouldn’t be worth it for anything other than comedy.