If early offseason activity is an indication of things to come this winter, the Washington Nationals may be more active in free agency than fans have come to expect in recent years. Coming off an 80-81 season, the franchise's best mark since relocating from Montreal to D.C., the Nationals signed veteran right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal already. According to a report by Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has his eyes on an even bigger free agent prize -- former Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher, Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt, the 2006 NL ERA leader, is a free agent after the Phillies declined a team option to keep him in Philadelphia for the 2012 season. Now RIzzo can pursue the 34-year old Oswalt once again (he reportedly was interested in bringing Oswalt to Washington in the spring of 2010 as well). Rizzo recently spoke about the Nationals' interest in acquiring veteran starting pitching help this offseason:
"The type of pitcher we are looking for is a good leader-type of guy that throws a lot of innings, has shown that he can win in the big leagues and really lead our staff," Rizzo said without mentioning any names. "It's not by having the best stuff on the staff, but showing how to be a professional, how to be a winner, how to pitch 200 innings in a season many, many times in a career. That's kind of the guy we are looking for."
During his 11-year career, Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA. In 2011, Oswalt started 23 games and finished with a 9-10 record, a 3.69 ERA, 93 K's and 33 BB's in 139.0 innings pitched.
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