January 28, 2013
Monday, January 28
Amid all of the Justin Upton hoopla last Thursday, the Mets’ signing of Shaun Marcum—first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that same morning and analyzed by Ben Lindbergh on Friday—flew under the radar. The move came a little less than three weeks after Heyman tweeted that Sandy Alderson had “quite a bit of money left to spend,” and it appears that the third-year general manager may not be done yet.
Mets could add Roy Oswalt to fortify staff
Alderson, though, is determined to leave no stone unturned. According to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, the Mets recently reached out to Oswalt’s agent, Robert Garber, and they view the 35-year-old as more than just a hedge on Marcum passing his physical. Oswalt appeared in 17 games for the Rangers last year, including nine starts, but he missed 10 games with lower-back tightness in July and 12 more with a strained elbow in September.
The former Astro and Phillie was better than his 5.80 ERA would indicate, striking out a batter per inning and logging his lowest walk percentage (4.2) since 2006, but to blame his .378 BABIP against and 18.6 percent HR/FB on sour luck would be overly generous. Oswalt allowed 13 hits in back-to-back starts versus the Tigers (June 27) and White Sox (July 3), serving up three first-inning home runs in the latter outing, and after that 19-2 drubbing at U.S. Cellular Field, he said candidly, “When I missed, they hit it.”
Four weeks later, in the wake of a 5 1/3-inning, eight-run drubbing at the hands of the Angels, Oswalt blamed his demise on inconsistent mechanics, which—after two weeks off the mound while nursing the aforementioned ailing back—impaired his typically excellent command. Part of the challenge for Oswalt over the past two seasons has been overcoming a gradual decline in his stuff, brought on by a combination of advancing age and the myriad injuries that he has sustained. Oswalt’s margin for error is considerably smaller that it was during his prime, and in 2012, he struggled to adjust.
The difference between the Oswalt of 2010 and the Oswalt of last year can be seen in a variety of ways, but the two images, from his Pitcher Profile, offer a stark illustration: