Why the Red Sox should sign Roy Oswalt


Roy Oswalt in Beantown makes sense. (Jim Luzzi/Getty Images)

The Red Sox need help. Their bullpen is suddenly a shambles, and the person key to fixing it, Daniel Bard, finds himself penciled in as the fifth starter in the rotation. Boston can’t afford to use a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to Andrew Bailey. There’s a chance the surgery on Bailey’s thumb could sideline him for months. The solution: immediately sign Roy Oswalt. Make Oswalt an offer he can’t refuse. He has shown a reluctance to go to Boston all spring, but money talks and Boston has that in spades.

Signing Oswalt would solve many problems facing Boston’s immediate future and would provide stability going forward. Oswalt could take over the fourth-starter role and Bard could return to the bullpen as the most logical choice as closer. Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves and Vicente Padilla have been rumored to be the top three candidates to fill in for Bailey. Not one of those pitchers fits the closer role as perfectly as Bard.

If the Red Sox stay put, their starting five looks like this:

  1. Jon Lester
  2. Josh Beckett
  3. Clay Buchholz
  4. Felix Doubront
  5. Bard

The Red Sox have a strong starting three, but Doubront is a question mark and Bard is completely unproven as a starter. When you add those questions marks to the uncertainty at the back end of Boston’s bullpen, the entirety of the Red Sox pitching staff  begins to look like nothing but a house of cards.

If the Red Sox do sign Oswalt, their starting five would be:

  1. Lester
  2. Beckett
  3. Buchholz
  4. Oswalt
  5. Doubront

Signing Oswalt and gaining his veteran presence erases two key question marks with one stroke of the pen. He gives the Red Sox a solid track record as a starter and allows Boston to put its best reliever back in the bullpen.

Signing Oswalt would also allow Melancon to stay in the role he has prepared for all spring: set-up man. Singing Oswalt also allows Bobby Valentine to use the versatile Aceves in multiple roles.

The 34-year-old Oswalt can still eat up a respectable amount of innings (139 last season). He also posted a strong 3.69 ERA for someone the Red Sox would most likely use as a fourth starter.

While not a magic bullet, singing Oswalt to a one-year deal is the right thing to do for the Red Sox. Oswalt is there for the taking. There’s no reason Boston shouldn’t make an all out push to sign Oswalt as soon as possible.

Contributor: Brian Hendrickson

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  1. Daniel Bard will not be pitching 200 innings this season.  They have already come out and said that.  That being said, i think that if he throws 150 to 170 innings that’s 25 to 28 six inning starts.  If Aaron Cook, Padilla, Miller, Tazawa (eventually Dice K) can be servicable what’s wrong with skipping him once every 4 or 5 times thru to save his innings.  I just think the team has gotten to the point of no return with Bard at least for this season.  He’s either going to be above league average as a starter, or he’s going to not be… but after the time invested to make him a starter, he’s gotta be a starter at least for this year. He can’t be any worse than John Lackey.

  2. I do agree Aceves has that killer attitude. I’m on the opposite end though — I’d rather The Red Sox use his versatility and not just lock him into one role. If Bard can get 200 innings that would be great. I just don’t see that happening. 

  3. Sorry. I have to disagree. I see Bard as a starter. With his two-pitch relief stuff, plus a third pitch that he developed over the winter, I say Iet have him in 200 innings over the season rather than 30. On a less tangible note, I just don’t see him having the “killer attitude” you really want in a closer. Ace has that. I also see Aceves as a guy who can come in in 7th or 8th and close the game out from there. I think they made the right decision.

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