Free agent pitcher and former ace Roy Oswalt was once thought to be the Nationals plan B behind Mark Buerhle in their quest for another starter this offseason. It seemed to be hung up on Oswalts quest for a three-year deal, something the Nats were likely weary of considering the 34-year-old struggled in 2011 with back injuries. But now Oswalt seems to have cooled off on the whole years request and, according to ESPNs Jerry Crasnick, will accept a one-year-deal for 2012.
Oswalts change in mood has apparently opened eyes around the MLB as Crasnick now says as many as six teams are interested. The three-time All-Star had a down year with the Phillies and posted a 3.69 ERA, the second worst of his 11-year career. But for a one-year deal Oswalt presents a relatively low risk with potential for high reward.
Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has repeatedly said he would like to add a veteran pitcher to help mentor the franchises young arms. He has spoken of a guy who has pitched 200 innings in a single season and can hopefully translate his work ethic down Washingtons chain of young arms. Roy Oswalt has seven MLB seasons of at least 200 innings under his belt, most recently in 2010.
But given Oswalts initial demand of three years, he may be asking for a sizable contract for next season. It also seems like the Nats could better use a left-handed starter to balance their rotation. They have been rumored to have interest in Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics, but the As are reportedly seeking as many as four players in return, likely a result of San Diegos monstrous haul for Mat Latos. The Nats have also been linked to John Danks as another lefty option.
Whether the Nats are serious about Oswalt or not, they will likely be more interested in signing him to a one-year deal. This makes Oswalt now one to watch for Washington as the offseason continues.