The Cincinnati Reds took advantage of a depressed market to sign free-agent closer Ryan Madson.
Now the team is trying to do the same with free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt.
The Reds remain in talks with Oswalt, according to major league sources.
Oswalt, 34, would prefer to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals or Texas Rangers, sources say, and some in the industry doubt that he would sign with any other team.
But the Reds, just as they were with Madson, are willing to make a deal work.
The team would need to clear payroll to sign Oswalt, who is believed to be seeking $8 million to $10 million on a one-year deal. Right-hander Homer Bailey, earning $2.425 million in 2012, would be the most likely candidate to be moved, sources say.
The Reds’ one-year, $8.5 million deal with Madson was creatively structured, with the team paying $6 million to the closer this season, including $2 million deferred until Nov. 1, 2012 and $2 million deferred until Nov. 1, 2013. Madson would earn another $2.5 million on the buyout of his $11 million mutual option for ’13.
Oswalt likely would need to accept similar terms, but his inability to reach agreement with either the Cardinals or Rangers reopened the process. The Boston Red Sox remain interested in him as well, sources say.
A report by FOXSports.com on Saturday night indicating that the Reds had merely kicked the tires on Oswalt and were not actively pursuing him was incorrect, sources say.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi