The Phillies decided not to offer right-hander Roy Oswalt arbitration, effectively reducing the price it would cost the Nationals to sign the veteran starter. And though left-hander Mark Buehrle is also high on the team’s list of targets this winter, the development could make Oswalt a more attractive alternative.
Had the Phillies decided to offer Oswalt arbitration, it would have cost the Nationals a first-round draft pick to sign him. But Philadelphia declined a $16.5 million option on Oswalt, and could have wound up paying him around that much if he had accepted arbitration. When the Phillies decided not to take that risk, it meant the Nationals wouldn’t have to give up the 16th overall pick to land the three-time All-Star.
Buehrle is a Type B free agent, meaning he would not have cost the team that signed him a draft pick. And that became a moot point when he declined the White Sox’s arbitration offer, anyway. But now that Oswalt is a more palatable option, the Nationals can turn in another direction if they don’t land Buehrle.