Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 1/5/12
ST. LOUIS - A report in the Boston Globe Tuesday linked the Cardinals to free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. But with five starting pitchers under contract and the two who would be trade candidates both holding no-trade clauses, the rumors dont seem to make much sense. The possibility has since been squashed by general manager John Mozeliak, who said in a text to Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there were, no truth to the rumors, about the Cardinals and Oswalt. Rumors about the Cardinals looking to deal either Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook to open up a spot in the starting rotation began during the Winter Meetings last month in Dallas. Mozeliak attempted to downplay those rumors at the time, saying that while they were receiving calls from teams and exploring what was out there, he didnt expect to trade either pitcher. The rumors at the time linked the Cardinals to free agent Mark Buehrle, who has made public his desire to someday pitch for St. Louis before he retired. The thought was the Cardinals would trade Lohse or Westbrook and open up a spot to finally sign Buehrle. But the left-hander signed with the Marlins and the rumors about the Cardinals looking to deal a starting pitcher quickly vanished. Tuesdays report in the Boston Globe mentioned nothing about the Cardinals looking to trade a starting pitcher to open up a spot for Oswalt. It said only that he was, being eyed by the St. Louis Cardinals, where Oswalt would love to pitch. Oswalts desire to pitch in St. Louis is no secret. He pushed for a trade to the Cardinals in July of 2010 before the longtime Astros ace was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Former Astros teammate Lance Berkman said recently on KFNS radio in St. Louis that hes been texting his friend and trying to persuade him to sign with the Cardinals. But signing Oswalt wouldnt seem to make a lot of sense for the Cardinals, who are already going to be near their projected target payroll of 110 million after signing Carlos Beltran to a two-year, 26 million deal. And even if money wasnt an issue, both Lohse and Westbrook have full no-trade clauses. Any trade involving either pitcher would have to be approved by them, something Lohse has already said he likely wouldnt do. Oswalt has a career 3.21 ERA in 11 seasons with the Astros and Phillies. He went 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 139 innings with Philadelphia in 2011 while dealing with a back injury that he thought might force him to retire. The 34-year-old Oswalt proved he was healthy down the stretch and made a start for the Phillies in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. Theres no doubt that Oswalt would help the Cardinals. Hes more proven than both Lohse and Westbrook and most consider replacing one of the two with him an upgrade. But even if Lohse or Westbrook were to agree to a trade, the Cardinals would likely have to pick up a good majority of their salaries for next season. Then theyd have to pay a competitive price for Oswalt on top of that. It just doesnt make sense financially. Mozeliak also told reporters at the Winter Meetings that any opening in the starting rotation from a trade would likely be filled from within the organization, another hint that Oswalt wouldnt appear to be in the Cardinals plans. It is a possibility that the Cardinals would look to bring in Oswalt as a reliever. Its hard to imagine the longtime starter (who has just 13 relief outings among his 339 career appearances) taking a relief role in St. Louis over offers to be a starter from teams such as the New York Yankees. The Cardinals roster already consists of a plethora of right-handed relievers in Jason Motte, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez, Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs making that scenario unlikely as well. Most Cardinals fans would love to have the former All-Star. Even the Cardinals players would probably love to have him. But with five starters already in the rotation for 2012, adding Oswalt seems like a long shot at best. And after winning the World Series with a rotation that included both Westbrook and Lohse and one that now welcomes back Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals proved that they are good enough to win without him.
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