As most of you know by now, Roy Oswalt, Houston’s reliable right-hander, might be up for grabs as the Astros continue to sputter through another lost season. As a result of their of their terrible losing record, the loyal Oswalt reportedly requested a trade about a week ago in the hopes that he could ultimately join a contendor. However, do not expect the Yankees to enter the bidding for the 32-year old’s services.
Although Oswalt is a dependable workhorse, logging 200-plus innings on a seemingly regular basis, and despite his proven track record as one of the most effective pitchers in the game – he owns a 3.35 career FIP and has posted a 3.20 FIP over 69 innings this year – the Yankees simply do not have any room for him in their rotation. “We have five starters we like,” responded “one Yankees person” to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman last week, when asked about the team’s interest in Oswalt. Perhaps if Phil Hughes were not proving his mettle this season, struggling like he has in the past, the Yankees might have been singing a different tune. That has not been the case, though. In fact, outside of Javier Vazquez, who can certainly turn things around this year (he was on the right rack prior to his latest effort), the team’s starting staff has been very strong. Hence, there is no real need to bring Oswalt on board. Oswalt also has a rather unsightly contract, paying him at least $33M from 2010-2012. I doubt Hal Steinbrenner, the financially prudent son, would like to take on such a commitment.
Inline with the Oswalt case outlined above, I also doubt the Yankees will acquire any brand-name starters this season. Seattle’s Cliff Lee is included in that category, of course, as he could become available later on. According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees will likely pursue him via free agency, instead – just as they did with CC Sabathia – when rotation spots are actually available (Javier Vazquez will depart, Andy Pettitte could retire). As of right now, though, in 2010, the need for starting pitching just isn’t there and, barring a huge injury, it won’t be there.
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