The market for Roy Oswalt

This may sound familiar, but some things never change:

Two friends of Roy Oswalt say they still believe his preference is to play in Texas, Atlanta or St. Louis. But since there's no indication the Braves or Cardinals are interested, his challenge is likely to be trying to convince the Rangers to pay him the significant dollars he's hoping for.

An official of one club that looked into Oswalt reports: "He wants a ton of money to pitch half a season. But based on how he pitched last year, it wasn't like he was dominant. So he's not a guy who's going to wrap up the pennant for you. He'd be a nice guy to add to the bottom of the rotation. He's not a guy you're adding to the top of your rotation, at this stage. But [based on his asking price] he doesn't see it that way."

The big reasons Oswalt would love to be a Ranger, according to his friends: (A) Geography, (B) no worries about run support, (C) no state income tax, (D) his relationship with Nolan Ryan and (E) lots of storylines for the media to center on besides him. But both friends stressed that money is an important factor, so if the Rangers don't make it worth his while, it's not a lock that Oswalt pitches in Texas -- or anywhere.

Oswalt has been linked to the Phillies and Red Sox. But both of those teams are right up against the luxury-tax threshold. So they're highly unlikely to dangle the kind of dollars he's looking for.

Meanwhile, one executive who speaks frequently with the Orioles' brass says: "Don't discount [reports on] Baltimore going after Oswalt. It wouldn't surprise me if they throw some money at him. They're getting serious about wanting to compete."

It's true that the Orioles are beginning to poke around in search of starting-pitching depth. But does Roy Oswalt really want to pitch for them? Feel free to re-read the first couple of sentences of this item, and we think you'll have your answer.

Almost from the day free agency began last winter, it has seemed as though Oswalt has had his eye trained on only a few clubs. And his problem now is virtually identical to his problems back in November, December, January and February:

Those clubs just aren't ready to write the monster check he has in mind.