The Texas Rangers met with free agent right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt in a face-to-face lunch meeting in Arlington on Monday, according to sources.
The meeting was described as exploratory and included Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, CEO and president Nolan Ryan, Oswalt, his wife, Nicole, and agent Bob Garber. One source said only that the meeting was "good."
Various reports have put the Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals as the two teams that Oswalt would prefer most as his home in 2012. An ESPNBoston.com report on Friday said Oswalt was close to a deal with the Cardinals, but added that it "wasn't 100 percent."
Oswalt, 34, is currently looking for a home in 2012 after a bothersome lower back landed him on the disabled list twice in 2011. The veteran was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 139 innings (23 starts) with the Philadelphia Phillies, who declined to pick up his option after the season. After Oswalt was dealt to the Phillies at the trade deadline in 2010, he went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA the rest of the season (12 starts).
He was a consistent starter in Houston, winning 20 games in 2004 and 2005, and has a career 3.21 ERA.
One question is whether he's a fit in Texas. The Rangers have more than a full rotation in place heading into spring training next month. They've said they are committed to trying Neftali Feliz in the rotation, and with the signing of Yu Darvish will need to move someone back to the bullpen. Alexi Ogando is the leading candidate after how well he pitched in relief in the ALDS and ALCS in 2011.
If Oswalt signs with the Rangers and is slated to start (he's said through his agent that he wants to start, not pitch in relief), that would require the club to move another current starter to the bullpen or make an additional move.
Daniels said Friday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that he was "intrigued" by the depth that Oswalt could provide to the staff but wasn't sure it was a perfect fit, either.
"If that were to happen, you'd love to have extra depth," said Daniels, in talking about if an injury occurred on the staff. "The flip side we've got to consider is what if that doesn't happen? How does it all fit together? We've spent a lot of time and resources developing this younger group where they are ready to maybe take that next step and do we owe it to them? Those are things we're walking through right now."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.