Free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt has elected to remain in the National League and is likely to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals "soon," a major league source said late Friday night.
Presumably, any agreement would be pending a physical for Oswalt, who has a history of back problems.
"It's not yet 100 percent," the source said.
Oswalt, one of the last of the big-name free agents still on the market, had been ardently pursued by the Boston Red Sox, among others. Another team reportedly in the mix for Oswalt was the Texas Rangers, while CBSSports.com reported late Friday night that Oswalt had rejected an offer from the Detroit Tigers.
The Red Sox last Saturday traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado Rockies to free up money for other moves, one of which was the signing of free-agent outfielder Cody Ross last week. They had targeted Oswalt, 34, once he made it known he would be willing to accept a one-year deal, but Oswalt, who spent the first 9 1/2 seasons of his career with the Houston Astros before going to the Phillies in a trade-deadline deal in 2010, apparently preferred to remain in the National League.
Back problems have plagued Oswalt for the past several seasons, although he still managed to make 23 starts for the Phillies last season, posting a 9-10 record and 3.69 ERA.
Red Sox sources have indicated they expect to re-engage the Chicago White Sox in trade talks for right-hander Gavin Floyd, who according to one White Sox source is available for the right package of prospects. So far, the Red Sox have not made a proposal satisfactory to GM Kenny Williams.
A long-shot possibility remains Edwin Jackson, the last significant starting pitcher remaining on the market. Jackson had not been on Boston's radar at the outset of the winter because of his desire for a multiyear deal, but the Red Sox have been in touch with agent Scott Boras on a possible one-year deal. As of earlier Friday, the Sox had not made an offer for Jackson.