Yesterday Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported that the Rangers had signed starting pitcher Roy Oswalt for about $4.25MM for the rest of the season. It had been reported for months that Oswalt really wanted to play for Texas, as he wanted to stay close to home but also play for a contender, which is undoubtedly why he preferred the Rangers to the Astros.
Oswalt reportedly has told the Rangers he'll be ready to go in a month, which means the Rangers should get anywhere from 10-15 starts from him if he can remain healthy and effective. Adding a quality pitcher mid-season is almost never a bad idea, and when it involves giving up nothing, as it does in this case, it's never a bad idea. More importantly, though, can Oswalt still provide value as a starting pitcher? Let's take a look.
Before getting into any stats, simply put, Oswalt is still a stud. Over the last three seasons, Oswalt's ERA is 3.47, his K:BB ratio is just under 4:1, and despite battling some injuries he's still averaged 177 innings a season during that time. He'll be 35-years-old at the end of August, so his age is somewhat of a concern, and he was considerably worse last season than the previous two. However, his 3.69 ERA was still very good, and while his 2.82 K:BB ratio isn't all that close to his career average of 3.52, it's not terrible. Oswalt also missed a month in July with injury issues, and they may have plagued him all season. I fully expect Oswalt to show he's still one of the league's better pitchers for Texas once he's ready.
And while some people will express concern about Oswalt never pitching in the American League, his stuff has always been good enough to dominate either league. He's no longer quite as dominating as he once was, but he should continue to be an asset for Texas in basically every game he starts. The quicker he can get ready, the sooner Texas will have another arm for the race out West this summer.
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