Red Sox, Reds, Rangers, Cardinals all downplaying interest in Roy Oswalt

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Roy Oswalt remains linked to a handful of teams, but seemingly no one wants to admit that they’re actually close to signing him.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said yesterday that he hadn’t talked to Oswalt’s agent in a week, only to have Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com report that they were indeed “still in talks.”

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox have “no traction” in negotiations with Oswalt and Boston signing him “doesn’t seem likely at this point.”

Similarly, according to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak the veteran right-hander ending up in St. Louis is unlikely in no small part because they’d have to shed significant payroll to add him and already have a full rotation.

Other potential suitors include the Rangers and Phillies, but Texas has downplayed its interest in Oswalt and Philadelphia would seemingly have to find a taker for Joe Blanton and his $8.5 million salary before possibly re-signing Oswalt.

He’s going to end up with a contender, mostly likely on a sizable one-year deal, but in the meantime there’s a pretty interesting little game of public statement chicken going on.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.