Nationals express interest in Astros' Oswalt


oswalt sitting.jpgBill Ladson of reports that the Nationals have expressed interest in trading for Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt, who requested a trade last week.

The Nats are off to their best start since 2005 with a 22-22 record, but that might not be enough to attract the 32-year-old Oswalt.  He’s aiming to hook up with a contender and try for a World Series ring, and his no-trade clause will allow him to pick and choose from a variety of interested teams.  It would be a shock if he’s traded before the end of May (or even June) and plenty of other contending clubs are expected to dial the number of Nats GM Mike Rizzo before this saga is through.

That said, it does make some sense.  Stephen Strasburg is shooting his way through the Nationals’ farm system and it would be fantastic to have a stand-up veteran like Oswalt in the clubhouse to keep the kid grounded and focused. 

Oswalt has a lousy 2-6 record this season through nine starts despite an ERA of 2.66 and a WHIP of 1.07.  He has also fanned 60 batters in 61 innings for the Astros, who are in last place in the NL Central.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.