Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roy Oswalt: The Magglio Ordonez Of Pitchers

Roy Oswalt pitched very well Wednesday in Milwaukee, and has pitched pretty well this season overall despite a 3-6 record. He has allowed far less hits than innings pitched. He has started every game. Both good signs, because there have been some injury issues in the past (aren't there usually with starting pitchers).
And he is available. The Houston Astros are not doing well and figure to be cutting him from the payroll because he is a 30-something pitcher, making $15 million per year, who isn't what he used to be.
Would Oswalt help the Tigers? He wouldn't hurt, that's for sure. Unless they do something stupid, like many of their fans are clamoring for, and trade for Oswalt, "regardless the cost."
If you pick up more than $30 million in contracts, and that player doesn't pan out with exceptional performance, the costs down the road to a franchise are enormous. It's same type of poor thinking that led the Tigers to signing Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman long term. The value of their performance hasn't anywhere come close to equaling their contracts. At least it could be justified in the sense both pitchers were in their early 20s when they were signed long term. Oswalt has a lot of miles on him. He's also pitched in the National League, where the hitters aren't of quite the same caliber, and there is no designated hitter. And if he does well, he'd likely walk from Detroit when his contract is complete anyway. He has no attachment here. His contract was signed in 2006 - before the economics of the game changed dramatically. He is a $5 million pitcher making $15 million this season - and set to make $16 million next season. He is the Magglio Ordonez of pitchers, in a sense.
He has a great name, though. He is remembered from the 2005 postseason. But he isn't the same pitcher he was back then. Not even close. Hasn't been for awhile.
How many people who are clamoring for Oswalt so badly have actually seen him pitch lately? He is just a big name, not necessarily a big-time pitcher at this point.



Blogger Barry said...

Like you say Pat, having Oswalt is not that bad of idea except you are wasting next year free agent money. But will the Tigers be able to sign Lee or Crawford next winter ? Tigers have a good shot at Cantu but how good of a 3B is he? I have read that the Astros would want something like a Perry, Oliver and Strieby. Tigers do have abundance of arms to replace Perry. I think I would go for the trade because he still above average pitcher and you have him next year and Tigers have a tough times getting free agents to come here.

11:31 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Sounds like Oswalt as a Tiger is more risk that gain. Let's see, Washburn, Willis, and Scherzer as recent starting pitcher trade acquisitions come quickly to mind.

But then there was Kenny Rogers ...

In my humble opinion, the risk exceeds the gain.

10:42 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, I totally agree with you on the Oswalt point. The Tigers would be over-paying for a name. Too many young prospects for a guy that may end up being the next Washburn. I think the Tigers should go after a guy like Chad Billingsley from the Dodgers. He is a young, middle of the rotation guy with 2-years of team control and a one year deal worth less than 4 million. The Tigers wouldn't have to give up quite so many prospects to get him. I wrote about this on my blog What do you think?

11:10 PM 
Anonymous Rob said...


Ordonez-to-Oswalt is a dangerous comparison in this town. We love Magglio despite his contract. It is definitely an apt comparison though. Oswalt, like Ordonez, is too expensive for almost any team to take in trade.

The Tigers are good enough to compete in the AL Central. If Oswalt was the one missing piece I'd make a deal. The problem is the Tigers are 4 or 5 players away from locking down the division title.

10:52 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to know what world you live in where Roy Oswalt deserves to be making 5 million a year when career #5 guys like Nate Robertson get 10 mil a year deals.

10:03 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I'd be careful be I trade arms like Perry and Oliver. They don't grow on trees. Don't see that happening, especially Perry, a first round pick they paid a boatload to sign in the first place and who arrived in the major leagues quickly.

1:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
A major league player's prime is considered from the age of 27 to 32. Oswalt is 32 and his performance hasn't come close to equaling the value of his contract.

1:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Certainly there is more upside with somebody like Billingsley, but I don't know why the Dodgers would want to unload him. To me, Tigers issue isn't pitching. It's hitting.

1:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Agree about Mags in this sense - he has done something for Tigers, a lot actually. My point is that Oswalt is like Magglio in that he is getting paid money for performance in the past, not necessarily what he is doing now.

1:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Just because Nate Robertson is overpaid doesn't mean Oswalt should be, too.

1:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

caputo I feel like you're misleading the readers on this one. first of all, just throw out wins and losses, it has been statistically proven that wins are the most overrated and meaningless pitching statistic second of all, roy oswalt is still a front line pitcher, without question. Over the past 4 years (including this year) his era/whip/ip has been 3.18/1.3/212, 3.54/1.1/208, 4.1/1.2/180, 2.3/1.0/69. It is safe to assume that the 4.1 era is an anomaly, considering how much different it is than the rest of the his numbers. He has always been a number one starter, and continues to be a #1 starter. Now, I'm not sure that I would trade for oswalt, simply because the tigers need to keep the momentum going in their farm system that has been building up over the past year or so. If they get rid of all of their blue-chippers, then the tigers will almost assuredly have another 2008 type season in the near future. But don't go saying that Oswalt has "underperformed", because that's just plain wrong.

11:47 PM 

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