The Roy Oswalt speculation machine has kicked back to life this week.
Several reports linking Oswalt to the Rangers have popped up again in recent days, although none of them say that any signing is imminent. The timing isn't much of a surprise. With Neftali Feliz on the disabled list, it wasn't going to take more than a couple of minutes for people to start connecting the dots.
Truthfully, Feliz's injury doesn't change anything. Feliz isn't supposed to be out for the rest of the season nor is there any reason to believe that starting games has anything to do with why he's hurt. Oswalt won't be ready to go right away, so he wouldn't seamlessly step into Feliz's spot in the rotation.
There are going to be the same questions about where he fits in the rotation as there would have been if he signed before the season and the same questions about how well Oswalt's back will hold up over the course of the year. None of that means this is a bad idea, though.
While there are some awfully hard to believe claims that the Rangers are losing money this season, there's nothing for the Rangers to lose with Oswalt other than profit. He'd be a pricey insurance option, to be sure, but it makes more sense to spend money there instead of digging into the prospect pool if you need an addition come late July.
Under the best case scenario for Feliz, he's going to need to work less often as the season unfolds and, given the makeup of the rest of the rotation, he seems destined for the bullpen come the playoffs. Oswalt gives them cover to make those moves whenever it feels right while also giving them a bit more ammunition once they get there.
But that brings us back to where we started, which is that nothing has really changed that significantly. Even with the possibility of injury to a starter, the Rangers weren't interested in Oswalt before the season. Absent other concrete signs of change, it seems silly to think that they'd change course just because an injury wound up happening.