Just how badly does Roy Oswalt want to pitch this season?
Oswalt threw for the Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers and at least one other team within the past two weeks, signaling that he wanted to return to the majors soon.
Yet, the free-agent right-hander remains unsigned, and the possibility of him returning in June is diminishing by the hour.
The reason? Major-league executives say it’s Oswalt’s asking price.
The Dodgers checked in and considered the price “excessive.” One source said Oswalt wants a pro-rated $7.5 million in base salary. Another said that Oswalt’s desired salary is a moving target, “but always high.”
“I’m not sure it’s the same price for everyone, but I think he is looking for the biggest payday,” said one exec from a team with interest in Oswalt.
“In the winter, proximity to home (in Weir, Ms.) was most important. Now, it seems like it’s dollars.”
If that is the case – if Oswalt simply wants the most money – perhaps a surprise team such as the Orioles would stand a chance. But right now, the status of the negotiations is unclear.
For comparison’s sake, left-hander Andy Pettitte, outfielder Johnny Damon and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero signed for relatively modest pro-rated amounts after Opening Day.
Pettitte, 39, got $2.5 million from the Yankees. Damon, 38, received $1.4 million from the Indians. Guerrero, 37, signed for $1.3 million with the Blue Jays.
Oswalt, 34, is considerably younger than those three. He had a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts for the Phillies last season, but twice went on the disabled list with back trouble.