A happy Tuesday morning to all of you; we could be two days away from the official start of the offseason, with the Rangers taking a 3-2 lead over the Cardinals in the World Series last night. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on the free agent market as the hot stove league creeps closer:
* The Phillies declined their $16 million option on Roy Oswalt for 2012, which was to be expected. They will try to re-sign him at a lower salary, but it's possible he'll get a better offer on the open market. The 34-year-old right-hander, who only pitched 139 innings in 2011, could be a Type A free agent, meaning the Phillies would get the first-round draft pick of whomever signed Oswalt. The top 15 picks in the draft are protected from being lost in free agency, but the Nationals are slated to pick 16th. So they'll be in new territory this offseason, and if they're going to lose their first-round pick on a free agent, there are probably better places to use it than Oswalt.
* A Sports Illustrated report said the White Sox were prepared to make a two-year offer to left-hander Mark Buehrle, but the 32-year-old might test the market as a result of being a free agent for the first time in his career. I've written several times that I think the Nationals could have some interest in Buehrle, and if they could get him on a nice two-year deal or by adding an option year for a third season, it might be worth a look. He's pitched at least 200 innings a season for the last 11 years. If you're looking for a stable veteran, there are few pitchers who fit that description better than Buehrle.
* We'll hear plenty about C.J. Wilson's rocky postseason and how it might affect him in free agency; don't spend much time listening to it. The Rangers left-hander will still be the top pitcher on the market this winter (unless CC Sabathia opts out of his deal), and the Nationals would have to spend plenty of money to go after him, especially with the Yankees pushing his price up and the Rangers trying to keep him. There will definitely be more affordable ways to add a pitcher.