Cincinnati is among the teams linked to Roy Oswalt, but general manager Walt Jocketty said yesterday that the Reds haven’t talked to the right-hander’s agent in a week and “the last we heard he was going to Texas.”
“That was on Monday,” Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t know if that deal is still in place. If he doesn’t sign, we’d take another look at it.”
Fay reports that the Reds would need to clear significant payroll space in order to sign Oswalt and their rotation depth chart is also full, even if Aroldis Chapman is assigned to the bullpen. Fay speculates that Homer Bailey would be the most likely starter moved, although the Reds would obviously love to unload Bronson Arroyo’s contract if they could.
As for Jocketty hearing that Oswalt was going to Texas, the Rangers also have a full rotation and reports last week indicated that signing Oswalt was “unlikely.” Other teams said to be in the mix are the Red Sox, Phillies, and Cardinals, this late in the offseason he’s running into similar roster/payroll issues everywhere.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.
I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:
Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.
Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.
I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.
Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.