If the Braves are concerned with sending Bobby Cox out as a winner this season then yes they probably should join the market for current Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt. Fact is though it probably isn’t going to happen.
One only needs to look back to the this past off season when the Braves tried to trade Derek Lowe because of his salary (15 million per) only to find no takers which resulted in the Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera deal as reason enough for not being optimistic.
Oswalt has a big price tag (15 million this season, 16 million next, and a club option in 2012) and it is doubtful the Braves will be looking to take on that kind of salary. Especially considering that the Astros would have no desire to take back Derek Lowe or Kenshin Kawakami along with prospects for Oswalt.
If only this were the mid nineties when the Braves were right in the middle of every rumor for any viable player on the trade market. If for no other reason than to keep them away from the competition. Oswalt only has a 2-6 record and has some injury history but as his current 2.66 ERA suggests, this dude can still pitch. He would fit well into a rotation that has seen only Tim Hudson overachieve this season. The Braves clearly have the prospects to get a deal done if only they had the means to offset some of the salary.
John Parent of Motor City Bengals and Call to the Pen in his weekly What’s Next column examines the Roy Oswalt situation and classifies the Braves as a long shot at best:
The Atlanta Braves are in a similar situation to the Mets as far as being a true contender is concerned. Adding Oswalt would certainly help, but the Braves haven’t had a history of adding big-time salaries in the past. I could see them wanting to make a run at it one last time for Bobby Cox, and I do think Oswalt would like to pitch in Atlanta, but I don’t think it happens. Remember, Atlanta traded Javier Vazquez last winter in an attempt to cut payroll.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution also discusses the idea as a good one, but as one that simply isn’t going to happen.
A decade ago, the Braves would have been all over Oswalt. Rule 1 in the Baseball Manual: You can’t have too much pitching. But the Braves and Frank Wren just told us that, with this club and its finances, you can have too much pitching.
The Braves believed shedding Vazquez wouldn’t hurt their rotation. And it’s true that he has been terrible as a Yankee. But he’s also pitching in the American League, which is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Ask Roy Halladay if switching to the NL is like going to pitching heaven.