Corey Oswalt has had a few cups of coffee with the New York Mets over the past few years. Does he have a future with the team?
Corey Oswalt was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft out of Madison High School in San Diego California by the New York Mets. He made his Major League debut April 25th, 2018 against the St Louis Cardinals throwing 4.2 innings while allowing 2 earned runs, 2 hits while striking out 4 and walking none.
There is a chance and an argument that Oswalt has a future with the Mets. Although he has struggled in his limited time given in the majors with an ERA approaching 6.50, there is some hope he can turn that around. He has pitched in a small sample size of only 71 innings and is only in his age 25 season, so he does have time to find himself and turn it around.
We could see Oswalt with the team sooner rather than later, too. Zack Wheeler will be a free agent this winter and it is hard to imagine they bring him back since they have a lot of money locked up to Jacob deGrom, Robinson Cano, and even Yoenis Cespedes for one more year. If they do bring back Wheeler it is unlikely they will have the money for Noah Syndergaard or Long Island native Steven Matz, not to mention any of the young position players. It is also hard to imagine they bring back Jason Vargas who has a team option for 2020 at $8 million, so that leaves two open spots in the rotation next year.
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Knowing all of these, we have to ask, is Oswalt a serious candidate for a rotation spot?
Oswalt has pitched pretty well during his career in the minors and he will not be a free agent until 2025. In 533.1 minor league innings, his ERA is a respectable 3.70. Oswalt obviously is not a 1 or 2 starter but he could slot right in the back end of a rotation.
The Mets do have some solid pitching prospects that are coming up and could pass Oswalt in the depth charts for the starting rotation in years to come, most notably Anthony Kay. Even though we could see Kay towards the end of the 2019 season, it is more likely we see him in 2020. This would still leave one spot in the rotation for Oswalt.
Assuming the Mets let Wheeler go this offseason when he becomes a free agent (or trade him beforehand) and decline the option on Vargas, they will still need another starter. As long as nobody is traded between now and Opening Day 2020, the Mets rotation will include deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. There is a good shot Kay could break the rotation, still leaving one spot open. If the Mets decide to spend money on the lineup or even extend some younger guys, that last spot could be filled for extremely cheap with Oswalt.
Even if the Mets decide to go a different route with their rotation next year or the next couple years, we could still see Oswalt in the rotation in the future since he is under control for so many years.
Oswalt could also be turned into a relief man. He has had a couple of relief appearances in both the majors and minors. We have seen the Mets turn starting pitchers into relief pitchers before, and successful ones at that. If the Mets do decide to add to their rotation without Oswalt, we could see him crack the bullpen in the next few years.
Since Oswalt is under team control for the next multiple years and at a relatively cheap rate, we could easily see him have a spot on the team for the next couple years. If he can translate his minor league success to the big leagues, he may find a permanent spot on the roster.
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What role do you think, if any, Oswalt could have with the Mets?