Earlier this week we learned that there was no end in sight regarding the Roy Oswalt free agent sweepstakes. Oswalt announced that he is willing to hold off on making a decision and is open to joining a team after the regular season begins. Up until this point, most figured that Oswalt’s decision was generally based on geography and winning. However, after yesterday’s Oswalt-related news, many are getting the feeling that the right-hander’s delay has been prompted by money, or a lack thereof.
Oswalt has been represented as a family man first and foremost. He made this clear last season when he left the Phillies to be with his wife and children as devastating tornados were ravaging his home state of Mississippi.
For this reason, it was no shock to hear that Oswalt preferred to sign with a club closer to his home this offseason. This made the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals the early favorites, and hampered the chances of other interested teams that are farther from Mississippi such as the Boston Red Sox.
The other factor in Oswalt’s decision making appeared to be winning a championship. This is something that has thus eluded the veteran, and Oswalt undoubtedly wants to join a club with World Series aspirations in 2012.
While these factors are certainly playing major roles in Oswalt’s decision, it also appears that a familiar force is driving negotiations; money.
Initially, Oswalt was targeting a one-year, $10 million contract. Teams have been unwilling to extend this high an offer to the 34-year-old, and to this point it seems that the best deal Oswalt has out there is worth about half of that.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported yesterday that the Cardinals have increased their offer to Oswalt from $3 million to $5 million. Strauss doesn’t get the feeling that this will be enough to ink Oswalt, as the veteran believes he will be able to earn this much if he waits until midseason to sign.
Oswalt’s former teammate Lance Berkman offered his two cents on the situation yesterday, noting that “it’s strictly a money thing”. Berkman added that the Cardinals offer “wasn’t enough to lure him out of Mississippi”. Berkman shares Oswalt’s belief that the right-hander is likely to receive a similar deal if he waits until midseason to sign.
I can’t blame Oswalt for trying. If you thought there was a shot you could come to work for half the year and still get paid your usual annual salary, wouldn’t you give it a try?
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