Olney: The skinny on Roy Oswalt

February, 14, 2012
ESPN Baseball Insider Buster Olney was on ESPN Boston Radio with Adam Jones on Tuesday (listen HERE) and shared his take on whether there's still a chance free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt lands in Boston.

From how he tells it, Red Sox fans shouldn't hold their breath:

"(The Red Sox) have indicated to Oswalt's side they will pay him $5-or-6 million for one year, but I think they've always been at a disadvantage with Roy in that he's a homebody. He's from Mississippi. I've been down to his house in Weir, Mississippi. It's within driving distance of St. Louis. It's a short flight to Dallas, where the Rangers are and where Mike Maddux, who Roy has known for years, is the pitching coach. Nolan Ryan is the team president, that's someone Roy goes going way back from his days with the Houston Astros.

"Let's face it, I think if you're Roy Oswalt, you're late in your career, you probably aren't going to necessarily want with open arms to embrace the idea of pitching in the American League East. I don't think that's something that pitchers as they get older want to do because the lineups are so tough.

"I think the Red Sox, their only chance of getting Roy would be if they step up and offer him $15 million. And because of the concerns about his back, I don't think there's ever been a chance where they would ever do that. ...

"I've gotten to know Roy and he's a stubborn Gus. He wants to have it his way. ... Even if the Red Sox have the highest offer on the table, I think Roy is going to pitch where he wants to pitch, and that's either in Dallas with the Rangers or it's with the Cardinals."

Here's Olney on a few other Sox topics:

* Expectations for the Red Sox: "It's been interesting this winter to see projections for the team. Generally speaking there is a lot of pessimism, and I think people have forgotten how great that team was for five months. With a great offense, with (Josh) Beckett throwing well, knowing what (Jon) Lester is capable of, knowing that (Clay) Buchholz is coming back. To me, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we got to midseason and they were leading the division. They're not my choice right now, but that's how much talent they have."

* Handicapping Boston's chances of signing Jacoby Ellsbury to an extension before he hits free agency: "Most of the time Scott Boras takes his clients into free agency. ... I think it's going to be really tough for the Red Sox to sign Ellsbury before he goes into free agency. And if he continues to play like he did last year, I think he's going to be a $150-$175 million player."

* His take on the David Ortiz deal: "Ortiz has now reached the stage of his career where the team is comfortable going year to year and paying him well when he has a good year. If you see a marked decline in his performance over the next couple of years, I think that's when the Red Sox will say, 'We're going to move on.'"



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