JUPITER FL - FEBRUARY 16: General Manager John Mozeliak (L) and owner William DeWitt Jr. of the St. Louis Cardinals speak at a press conference at Roger Dean Stadium on February 16 2011 in Jupiter Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Roy Oswalt Signs With Texas Rangers, Ending Speculation That Began In St. Louis

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak made major changes in-season last year that led to a World Series title. Will he try to do the same this year?

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Roy Oswalt Signing Ends Months Of St. Louis Cardinals Speculation

For a while, back in January, it looked like the St. Louis Cardinals had already signed Roy Oswalt. For part of one day it seemed like the Cardinals and Oswalt had agreed to a deal that would shunt Jake Westbrook semi-permanently to the bullpen. Then things got unclear, and it seemed like every team was about to make a deal with Oswalt, until he and his agent retreated to try again in June. It looks like that move finally worked out: As anticipated, a contender had an injury to deal with when Neftali Feliz fell out of the Texas Rangers' rotation and they signed Oswalt to a most-of-one-year deal Tuesday.

It's a solid fit—though it has to be a bit odd for both the Rangers and Oswalt, who spurned each other back in January and February after rumors emerged that he would've been consigned to the bullpen on the Rangers' opening day roster.

Then, Roy Oswalt was a veteran among other veterans; yesterday he was the last possible patch on a number of rotations that couldn't afford to lose any air. Well played, Roy-Oswalt's-agent.

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Roy Oswalt, Texas Rangers Agree To Contract, Ending Months Of Speculation

The Roy Oswalt contract hunt is over, and baseball's last free agent finally has a home: With the Texas Rangers, a team that spurned him by seeming to suggest he'd be bound for the bullpen earlier in the season but now, with Neftali Feliz hurt, suddenly has a perfect spot. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports the deal is worth $5 million and that Oswalt won't pitch until well into June—a little later than he was hoping for going into the season, which began three months after he was supposed to have signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Oswalt, 159-93 in a career spent mostly with the Houston Astros, was 9-10 with an ERA of 3.69 in 23 starts as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' all-star rotation last year. But he's just a season removed from one of the highest strikeout rates of his career, so few would be surprised if he came back looking very strong for the first-place Rangers after his minor-league training sessions are finished.

The Texas Rangers swooping in ends the most recent round of speculation—that Roy Halladay's injury would lead to a Roy Oswalt/Philadelphia Phillies reunion.

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Roy Oswalt Rumors: Los Angeles Dodgers Make Oswalt An Offer He Could Refuse

Monday night, as it seemed more logical than ever that the Roy Oswalt rumors would culminate in a return to the Philadelphia Phillies, the rumor mill was sent spinning by this tweet from Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, which suggests that the Los Angeles Dodgers, the toast of the National League so far, have already made the former Houston Astros ace an offer.

It makes sense; they're off to a great start, and with Frank McCourt mostly out of the picture they certainly have money to burn. And with 5-1 Ted Lilly on the disabled list, they also have a spot in the rotation to fill with a veteran. Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, Oswalt's price appears to be unmoved from where it was in the spring, when he drew no satisfactory offers; it's completely possible that the Dodgers made an offer, but it's equally possible that Roy Oswalt might refuse it.

More Roy Oswalt coverage from SB Nation St. Louis, which was fooled with everybody else when it seemed imminent that he'd sign with the Cardinals:

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Roy Oswalt Rumors Rekindled By Roy Halladay's Injury

Sunday afternoon, Roy Oswalt rumors took a buyer's-market turn when the various rumor-reporters aggregated then at SI.com seemed to suggest that the contract the veteran pitcher wanted was beyond the budget—or at least the desire—of most of his potential bidders. Sunday night: A possible Roy Halladay injury at Busch Stadium during their 8-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals leaves the Philadelphia Phillies with the vague diagnosis of shoulder soreness standing between them and a Roy-sized hole in their starting rotation. Could Oswalt end his strange layoff where it began at the end of last season?

It makes sense at a glance. The Phillies, pinned down in a startlingly solid NL East, already have longtime swingman Kyle Kendrick in the rotation, and getting good news about Vance Worley won't be enough to settle a fanbase if Roy Halladay, perhaps baseball's best pitcher, has to miss any length of time recovering from whatever's caused this soreness.

Enter: Roy Oswalt. If he really wants that rumored $7.5 million I think he's unlikely to get it, but his agent is probably on the line with the Phillies at this very moment.

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MLB Rumors: Roy Oswalt Returns, But The St. Louis Cardinals' Rotation Is Crowded

Roy Oswalt rumors are officially back in style, after a lull in the wake of his decision to hold out of MLB action until June, but the St. Louis Cardinals are a different team than the one that reportedly signed him back in January. Back then the question was whether Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook would be good enough to stick in a championship contender's rotation; now the Cardinals' rotation's weakest link is Adam Wainwright, who they aren't about to give up on, and neither Westbrook nor Lohse has struggled enough to precipitate a rotation reboot with Oswalt involved.

Oswalt's timetable—whatever his reasons for instituting it—could be the undoing of what was supposed to be his Cardinals career. Shortly after he announced it the Cardinals realized they'd lose Chris Carpenter until July; Oswalt would have been a great fit in April and May, but now he's redundant, and in the meantime Lance Lynn has gotten off to an outstanding start.

Some contender will no doubt call for Oswalt's services, but the frontrunners in the bidding over the winter don't seem to have room for him anymore, unless he can play center field.

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MLB Rumors: Roy Oswalt News Quiet As Contenders Begin Retooling

The St. Louis Cardinals were reported to have signed him back in January, but since then the MLB rumor mill has cooled on Roy Oswalt sightings. Now, though, with his estimated return date of June in sight, teams and pitcher will be connected once more willy-nilly—at least until he and his reputation decide to give us an idea of his next move.

It still seems certain that Roy Oswalt will be able to help some contending team in the rotation. Even in 2011, with a career-low strikeout rate, his strikeout-to-walk ratio hovered just below three for the Philadelphia Phillies—and the year before he'd set a full-season high strikeout rate, of just over eight, so it seems unlikely that we've seen the last of a more dangerous Oswalt anyway.

All that has to sound good to contending teams dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness—including the Cardinals, who've had to deal with both Chris Carpenter's protracted absence and Adam Wainwright's protracted ineffectiveness since they couldn't come to an agreement with Roy Oswalt the first time.

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