Reds general manager on Roy Oswalt: “Last we heard he was going to Texas”

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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.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉