So is this how it ends for Roy Oswalt?
Banished to the Texas Rangers bullpen earlier in the week, the 34-year-old pitcher made headlines on Sunday after saying "no mas" to a request that he stay in the game after pitching two relatively short innings.
Oswalt pitched two scoreless innings in the Rangers' 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Royals. With the score tied at six, he set down the side in order in the seventh and eighth innings while throwing only 30 pitches.
The Rangers wanted Oswalt to keep pitching. He declined to do so.
"He said he couldn't go any further," manager Ron Washington said. "He said he had enough."
Oswalt hasn't been shy about airing his feelings after Rangers brass decided he and not Scott Feldman should head to the bullpen after the Ryan Dempster trade. "I'm a starter," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Saturday. "I'm not really a bullpen guy."
Oswalt's disappointment is understandable. In just a few months he's gone from an object of desire as he delayed the start of his 2012 season to a bullpen role he didn't sign up for. A lot of that had to do with the 6.49 ERA he posted in six starts for the Rangers, but he's a prideful pitcher who's probably certain that success is just around the corner. That's the nature of a big-league pitcher who's had an above-average career.
At the same time, Texas GM Jon Daniels has to make the move that's best for his team, even if Oswalt doesn't agree with it. It's also definitely not a coincidence that we've seen both sides acknowledging that Oswalt isn't happy with the situation. There's no way the Rangers would make Oswalt's insubordination public if they thought he had a key role to play for the team down the stretch.
Indeed, from this view, those comments look like train tracks being laid for Oswalt's route out of town — either to his inevitable retirement atop a tractor or a contender that's willing to give him a starting spot while the Rangers eat the rest of his 2012 salary. Stay tuned.