UPDATE: No deal yet between Cardinals and Roy Oswalt

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UPDATE: Oswalt’s agent, Bob Garber, told Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors this morning that there’s “no chance” of his client pitching out of the bullpen.

8:31 AM: Hold your horses, everyone. When most of us went to bed, it appeared as though Roy Oswalt was St. Louis-bound. That may still be the case, but Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com has backtracked a bit from his previous report. He calls a deal likely to happen “soon” and was told by a source that it’s “not 100 percent” yet.

Meanwhile, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are insisting that no deal is in place with Oswalt. Any deal would be contingent upon a physical and the veteran right-hander has a history of back problems, so it’s possible some formalities are standing in the way of an official agreement. For now, we wait.

1:09 AM: Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that Roy Oswalt is headed to the Cardinals. No word yet on the terms of the contract.

8:36 PM, Friday: Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that the Cardinals and Roy Oswalt are close to agreeing on a contract. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald confirms Duquette’s report, but adds that the process may take “another day or two.”

No word on the specific terms being discussed, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported earlier this week that the Cardinals made an offer to Oswalt a few weeks ago “approaching $5 million.” Strauss didn’t think that would be enough to get it done and even pegged the Rangers as the favorites.

As for Duquette, he hears that the Red Sox, Astros and Rangers remain in the mix. The Astros are a bit of a head-scratcher given that they haven’t been mentioned until this point and aren’t anywhere close to contending, but perhaps Oswalt gave some thought to going back to where it all started.

Of course, the interesting part of a potential match with the Cardinals is that they already have five starters and Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook have full no-trade clauses in their respective contracts. By the way, Lohse will make $11.57 million in 2012 while Westbrook is owed $8.5 million this season and a $1 million buyout on his $8.5 million mutual option for 2013. Oswalt has the potential to make them better, obviously, but that could be a messy situation.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.