I don’t know. But Bernardo Fallas and Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle handicap the field today. Included in their analysis: the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Braves, Reds, Nationals, White Sox, and Phillies.
As the writers note, there are issues with all of those, including the willingness to spend money (Dodgers, Phillies), the fact that they aren’t a real contender and thus Oswalt may reject the notion (Mets, Reds, Nationals, Chisox) or the fact that they don’t really have room in the rotation. The writers include the Braves in that last group, though I don’t think it’s safe to say that Kenshin Kawakami is going to keep Roy Oswalt out of the Braves starting five if he were to come over. For Atlanta, the issue is more likely payroll.
Though it’s not at all clear to me that Oswalt — a county boy, we are constantly reminded — wants to play in Los Angeles, the Dodgers make the most sense to me from a baseball perspective. And heck, it’s not like Houston is a small town anyway. They seem to have less of an excuse than any of the other contenders to not at least try for Oswalt given both their needs and their means, whether or not they’re willing to fulfill them and use them, respectively.
I think the most important thing in all of this is that it’s really, really early in this process. Trades of this magnitude just don’t come together overnight. Most of the time they sort of linger until the deadline, which is still two months away. In that time we’ll get a stronger sense of who’s a legitimate contender and who is not and the market will mature.
But really, the Dodgers should totally make a play for the guy.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.