Friends of Roy Oswalt say that the pitcher still prefers to play with either the St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers or Atlanta Braves if he returns this season, as Jayson Stark of ESPN reports. The Cardinals and Braves don't appear interested, though, with Stark suggesting that Oswalt will likely try to get as much money as possible from Texas.
Oswalt has sat out the beginning of the 2012 season after dealing with injuries last year, instead opting to wait until the middle of the season before making his next move. The general expectation has been that he'd return near the middle of the season to make the stretch run for a contender, with his preferred teams certainly qualifying as contenders.
Stark did speak to one official who doesn't believe that the 34-year-old is ultimately a major difference-maker, though:
He wants a ton of money to pitch half a season. But based on how he pitched last year, it wasn't like he was dominant. So he's not a guy who's going to wrap up the pennant for you. He'd be a nice guy to add to the bottom of the rotation. He's not a guy you're adding to the top of your rotation, at this stage. But [based on his asking price] he doesn't see it that way.
Given that the Cardinals don't have a blaring need for starting pitching at the moment, it's hard to imagine that they'll fork up major money for Oswalt if that's what he's looking for. Pitching depth is always crucial during the long baseball season, but you have to believe that St. Louis will be looking for good value in signing the veteran.
For more news and updates from around the MLB, drop by Baseball Nation with Rob Neyer, or dig deeper into the stats at Beyond the Box Score. Also, check out Viva El Birdos for more in-depth coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals.