Red Sox and Phillies maintaining contact with Roy Oswalt

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It’s pretty well-documented that Roy Oswalt would prefer to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals in order to be closer to his home in Mississippi. However, since both clubs have full starting rotations, they have little reason to break the bank in order to sign him. This leaves Oswalt considering the alternatives.

With that in mind, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Reds and Phillies are among the teams who have remained in contact with the veteran right-hander.

While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told WEEI’s Alex Speier earlier this week that it’s “unlikely” they’ll add a starting pitcher prior to spring training, Morosi was told that the two sides continue to have “mutual interest” in one another. Oswalt is open to returning to Philadelphia, but the Phillies haven’t been aggressive adding rotation help this offseason. As for the Reds, they already have six candidates for their rotation and would likely have to move some salary in order to be a realistic possibility.

Assuming a deal with the Rangers or Cardinals doesn’t happen, the Red Sox look like the best match. Then again, Morosi doesn’t dismiss the possibility that new suitors could emerge in the coming days, especially if Oswalt ends up lowering his asking price. While Edwin Jackson signing with the Nationals earlier this week wasn’t a huge shocker because of the Scott Boras connection, it at least served as a reminder that things can change in a hurry.

Oswalt, 34, was limited to 23 starts last season due to a back condition, posting a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio over 139 innings.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Reds only “kicked the tires” and aren’t actively pursuing Oswalt.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.