On the heels of Neftali Feliz’s elbow injury, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this evening that they are considering alternatives for their rotation, including free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt.
“We’ll consider all our options, whatever’s best for the team going forward,” Daniels said. “He [Oswalt] is still out there. He hasn’t faced hitters yet. He’s not an immediate option.”
Scott Feldman will replace Feliz in the starting rotation on Wednesday against the Mariners, but the Rangers will re-evaluate things from there. Alexi Ogando enjoyed success as a starter last season, but he’s not stretched out and the team appears content using him in a late-inning role. At least right now. It’s unlikely the Rangers will turn to one of their top pitching prospects, including right-hander Neil Ramirez and left-hander Martin Perez.
The Rangers were one of three teams who reportedly watched Oswalt throw Friday in Mississippi, along with the Red Sox and Cardinals. Those are the same teams who were mentioned most often in connection with Oswalt over the winter. However, he’s likely about a month away from being major-league ready.
Oswalt, 34, posted a 3.69 ERA and 93/23 K/BB ratio over 23 starts with the Phillies last season while dealing with a back injury. He has never pitched for an American League team.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.