By Scott Barzilla

It looks like the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes are over. The richer get richer and the poorer get poorer as they always say. The Texas Rangers are arguably the best team in baseball and they add the only significant free agent left on the market. Oswalt and the Rangers flirted with each other during the offseason, but there wasn’t room for him in the rotation. It’s funny how things change over time.

Neftali Feliz went on the shelf with arm problems and that opened a hole in the rotation. More importantly, the price went down. Reportedly, the Detroit Tigers made Oswalt a firm offer of ten million dollars during the offseason. Today, Oswalt agreed to five million guaranteed and one million more in incentives. Thus, Oswalt learned a very important lesson in negotiations. There comes a point when you lose your leverage.

As for the Rangers, they will likely have to wait a month for Oswalt to get into game shape. Feliz may end up coming back by then, but the Rangers can easily slide him into the bullpen. If that ends up happening the Rangers will have the most dominant bullpen in the big leagues. Naturally, that will create it’s own problem, but consider the bullpen that would give them.

  • Joe Nathan– 2.18 ERA, 11 saves
  • Alexi Ogando– 1.65 ERA
  • Mike Adams– 2.04 ERA
  • Koji Uehara– 1.04 ERA
  • Robbie Ross– 1.85 ERA
  • Mark Lowe– 2.55 ERA
  • Neftali Feliz– 3.16 ERA

This would put Scott Feldman on the chopping block. Feldman is currently taking Feliz’s spot in the rotation and serves as a very important swing man. That puts the Rangers in a bit of a predicament. That means that one of the guys above will either have to be sent down or traded. Odds are good that Koji Uehara will end up being that guy. Alexi Ogando and Feliz can both serve as starters and relievers. Nathan is effective as a closer.

Robbie Ross is the biggest surprise of the group. He is the only left-hander in the pen and hadn’t thrown a big league pitch before this season. Yet, as the only lefty he is invaluable at this point. As hard as it would be to deal Uehara, that probably makes the most sense. Of course, the Rangers have about a month to make that call.

Angels place Jered Weaver on Disabled List

In other news, the Angels will have to go without the services of their ace for at least two weeks. Jered Weaver left last night’s start against the Yankees after only twelve pitches. The reports coming from the Angels is that he has a strained lower back. X Rays and MRI revealed nothing structurally wrong, but the Angels went ahead and placed him on the 15 day disabled list so he could get some rest.

Garrett Richards gets the call temporarily, but this couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Angels. They had fought their way into second place in the West and trailed the Rangers by six and a half games. Now, they are down a stud pitcher when their offense is still sputtering some. That coupled with the addition of Oswalt on the Rangers makes the Rangers the prohibitive favorites to win the division.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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