Colorado Rockies Sign Roy Oswalt

The Rockies announced today that they signed veteran RHP Roy Oswalt to a minor league contract.  No reports yet on the contract terms, but since it’s a minor league deal, it certainly sounds like a row-risk-potentially-high-reward move by the Rockies.

Apparently, Oswalt has effectively decided that at this point in his career, he doesn’t want to spend six or seven months a year traveling.  He signed with the Rangers late last year, and he’s doing the same thing with the Rockies this year.  In my mind, Oswalt has earned the right to take his Aprils off, if that’s what he wants to do.

Oswalt got hit hard pitching for the Rangers last year, and he’ll likely get hit hard pitching in Coors Field this year, since Coors Field is the only park tougher for pitchers than the Rangers’ home yard.  Even so, Oswalt looks like a good fit for an extreme hitters’ park because he throws strikes and doesn’t give up a whole lot of home runs.

At the Ballpark in Arlington and Coors Field, batters are going to get their hits and home runs.  Limiting the number of free passes the pitcher allows is critical to keeping big innings to a minimum.

Oswalt went 4-3 for the Rangers last year in spite of a 5.80 ERA.  Oswalt doesn’t need to improve much to be an effective starter in Denver since Coors Field is a place where a starter can have an ERA over 5.00 and still have a winning record.

For example, Kevin Ritz went 17-11 with an ERA of 5.28 in 1996, Pedro Astacio went 17-11 with an ERA of 5.04 in 1999, Shawn Estes went 15-8 with 5.84 ERA in 2004, Jeff Francis went 14-12 with an ERA of 5.68 in 2005, and Mike Hampton went 14-13 with a 5.41 ERA in 2001.  I very much doubt that these are the only Rockies’ starters to have achieved this dubious distinction — these are just the ones I found without much effort.

One thing that Oswalt will not do as a Rockie is win 20 games in a season.  No Rockies pitcher has yet done so, with Ubaldo Jiminez‘s 19 wins (and 2.88 ERA) in 2010 the closest to date.  Is it any wonder that it is almost impossible for the Rockies to sign top free agent pitchers?

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One Comment on “Colorado Rockies Sign Roy Oswalt”

  1. reystjohn Says:

    Hey Burly– didn’t know you were still doing this blog! I’m glad I checked. It is awesome. Do you know the last player of each team that won 20?

    Here is the answer from my blog that is shameful compared to yours, but thought you might like it: http://tinyurl.com/bmgx2n5


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