Boston, St. Louis and Houston are also involved in the Oswalt sweepstakes. The Rangers have not made an offer, a person familiar with the situation said.
The Rangers met with another prominent free agent, first baseman Prince Fielder, on Jan. 13. That led to an offer, but Detroit surpassed the Rangers.
St. Louis has the most non-financial inducements for Oswalt. Signing with the Cardinals would allow Oswalt to stay in the National League with the defending World Series champion within reasonable proximity to his Mississippi home.
Like the Rangers, St. Louis has a fully booked rotation. Oswalt has indicated through his representative, Bob Garber, that he has no desire to pitch in relief.
Oswalt, 34, went on the disabled list twice last season because of lower-back problems and finished 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA for Philadelphia. In 2010, he went 7-1 with a 1.66 ERA in 12 starts with the Phillies after being obtained from Houston.
With Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish , Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando all looking at spots in the Rangers’ starting rotation, it seems unlikely that the club would add another arm to the group.
So how does Rangers general manager Jon Daniels feel about possibly acquiring the 34-year-old right-hander?
“We’ve got more than a set rotation, quite frankly,” Daniels said Friday on 103.3’s The Ben and Skin Show [KESN-FM]. “So the fit’s not maybe as clean as it has been in years past. When you look at a guy like Roy, with his track record and also his relationship with some guys in the organization, having played with and for them in Houston, it’s intriguing.
“The upside play has always kind of intrigued us. It doesn’t fit perfectly for us and you look at the guys in the rotation and you can go through each one and why they deserve and should be and we want them to be in the rotation.”
Daniels went on to say that you can’t predict injuries and he’d always love to have some extra depth to fall back on, however, if everyone’s healthy, there’s a logjam.
Oswalt went 9-10 last year for Philadelphia, recording a career-low 93 strikeouts with a 3.69 ERA. He was scheduled to make $16 million from the Phillies this season but the team decided in October that it would rather pay a $2 million buyout.