I’m sure you’ve all seen or heard the rumors by now – Mozeliak loves Roy,  Roy loves the Cardinals and the only thing that stands between the two getting together is this man:

The General Manager of the #30 org

No doubt that man wants our favorite Faberge egg, Shelby Miller. There’s a reason Shelby causes hyperventilation to exposes prospect geeks, but let’s face it – players of his ilk frequently flame out and few reach their potential.

Roy Oswalt is about as sure of a thing as you can find as far as 32-year-old pitchers go. The rub is that he’s extremely expensive. Including this season and next, he’s owed about $27 million dollars, and he may or may not want whatever team that acquires his services to guarantee his $15 million option for 2012, depending on who you listen to. For a team that is trying to re-sign the best player in baseball, finding a way to fit in Oswalt’s contact could take financial finagling, or some supernatural assistance.

So is this deal worth doing?

According to studies, pitchers of Miller’s prospect status on average give their teams $20 million worth of production above their salary during their cost-controlled years, that is their first 6 years before they’re eligible to hit the open market. Miller is a very valuable commodity.

What kind of trade value does Roy Oswalt offer? Given his salary, pretty much nada. Using Sky Kalkman’s User-Friendly Trade Value Calculator, here’s what I get for Roy-O.

If Oswalt forgoes his demand for his option to be picked up, then his value goes up about a million. Not a big difference. Included in his worth is free agent compensation in the draft, but that’s only if the Cardinals were to offer him arbitration.

So Oswalt’s bloated contract sucks away a lot of his trade value. $20 million > $1 mil. So Shelby Miller for Oswalt on paper is a pretty lopsided deal for Houston, and we don’t need Ed Wade to start to feel good about himself. Houston really needs the salary relief – they should be willing to take Eduardo Sánchez and maybe Jon Jay and be plenty thankful for it. I think Moz knows this and that’s why nothing has been done yet. That, or Wade is hoping Ruben Amaro loses is mind and trumps the Cardinals’ offer of Miller.

Remember too that we need to include the boost in the team’s playoff chances that Oswalt would add to the Cardinals in this equation. The Reds don’t seem to be going away, at least not yet. And we can be sure that Jocketty is trolling the market to find some help. I would guess the increase in playoff odds being worth another $5 million or so. Perhaps Steve can chime in on this, he knows more about that than I do.

Sorry to get all nerdy on you; getting down to brass tacks: If the Cardinals are willing to part with Miller, they should probably do better than Roy Oswalt, unless Houston is willing to eat some salary.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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3 Responses to “The Obligatory Roy Oswalt Rumor Post”

  1. I’ve been a big fan of Oswalt for a long time and would be thrilled to see him pitch for the Cards.

    I thought it confirmed that Miller would have to go the PTBNL route to be part of this trade. That would be an unwise trade. I’d also be disappointed if Boggs were part of it, since I’ve long thought he’d put it all together and today was a benchmark day for him.

    Hope this isn’t all silliness.

  2. Evaluating Miller seems like a royal pain in the neck. A year ago Victor Wang would’ve said a HS pitcher taken late in the first round was worth maybe $5 million. There’s a discontinuity between that and him being worth an extra $15 million after 65 innings in the Midwest League. I don’t know what the right number, and my gut says $20 million probably isn’t that far off, but I keep imagining the accountants at work yelling at me if I computed a similar change in an asset value. I guess Luhnow doesn’t have to deal with Sarbanes-Oxley though.

    Oswalt’s contract is a decent example of one potential positive of backloaded contracts. There’s got to be a psychological block for some GMs that makes them think they should pay Oswalt’s full salary *and* give up a good prospect for him.

  3. As far as playoff probability added it’s usually somewhere around 5% for each additional win (varies by where you are on the win curve etc.) I haven’t run any updated simulations including our current situation, so I can’t really give exact numbers. My gut would say adding an Oswalt or Haren would probably be worth an extra 7-12% of PPA.

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