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Lots of rumors flying about Oswalt; preferred Texas still 1 of 4 known to be in

As if Roy Oswalt's first foray into free agency this year wasn't interesting enough, his second go-round may be topping it.

Oswalt was said to hoping to be back on a major-league mound by June 15, but for now there still seems to be more intrigue than substance. And that June 15 target date seems optimistic now.

The Rangers, one of his preferred teams, definitely are in the Oswalt derby. So are the Orioles, a surprise team this year. The Red Sox are interested, and the Phillies may be, too (and you have to wonder whether Roy Halladay's shoulder concern enhances any interest there).

Then there are the rumors. There was one whisper Oswalt, 34, worked out for the Dodgers recently. But sources familiar with their situation insisted that the Dodgers' interest came "awhile back'' and that there was no evidence of any renewed contact by the Dodgers, who thought Oswalt's price was too high.

Texas probably remains the most logical team for Oswalt (9-10 with a 3.69 ERA last year), but while they would like to sign him now it seems clear there must be a difference in dollars. While the scouts who have seen him suggest he can help a team, word is that the asking price isn't insignificant.

One executive of an interested team said he believes Oswalt will probably top the $2.5 million the late-starting Andy Pettitte is guaranteed by the Yankees but seems skeptical about whether Oswalt will meet his asking price or guarantee himself $5 million. Oswalt is now said to be more open geographically, and the substantial asking price has some surmising he plans to go to the high bidder.

Oswalt is also said to want to play for a team with a chance to win, so assuming the Dodgers don't get back in the derby, the Rangers would appear to be the safest bet to make the playoffs of the known interested teams, though the Red Sox, Phillies and Orioles all have a chance to make the playoffs.

In Oswalt's first free agency in the winter, he turned down an offer of close to $10 million from the Tigers and rebuffed the Red Sox while hoping for the Rangers or Cardinals, who showed no interest at the time. After signing with no one in the winter, he said he'd wait a little while into the season to sign. If he's going to sign, you't think it would be fairly soon, though.


 
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