The Texas Rangers didn’t do much to address starting pitching at the deadline causing some to think the whole starting pitching problem may be overblown…
Approaching the trade deadline it was obvious the Texas Rangers were looking for starting pitching. Injuries to Yu Darvish, A.J. Griffin, Derek Holland, and Colby Lewis (just to name a few notable starters) harvested desperation.
The starting rotation that once boasted one of the best collective ERAs in baseball was caught in a injury-induced tailspin. Surely the Jon Daniels would address the issue before the trade deadline passed. Surely the Texas Rangers would use their stacked farm system to procure a top-flight arm to put them over the top. Surely.
As we all know, the deadline didn’t go down exactly how we thought it would. Jon Daniels did make some deals and the Texas Rangers did appear to greatly improve their team, but starting pitching wasn’t really one of them.
The market price clearly played a part in the Rangers decision to overlook starting pitching this summer. At this time of year, EVERY team is in the market for fresh arms to put them over the top. Considering their playoff positioning and injury problems, the Texas Rangers were in discussions with just about everyone. Kicking the tires and gauging the cost.
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In the end, the cost was just too much.
…And the situation didn’t seem as dire.
The Texas Rangers were in a bad place the month of July. The team that dominated the season’s first half was in a freefall. Their 11 game division lead dwindled to 2.5. The lineup foundered. The bullpen was exhausted. Things were bleak.
But things are starting to look up here in August. Talented but somewhat fragile lefty, Martin Perez, has begun to find his groove. In his last start he went a full seven innings, giving up only four hits and one run. If he can build on that performance tonight against Baltimore, he could be as good as anyone who was traded on Monday.
Derek Holland and Colby Lewis are two proven starters who have been big for the Texas Rangers in playoffs past. Lewis lacks the “stuff” that gets us excited but he’s strong veteran leader who knows how to win big games. Holland is all-too-often a flip of the coin – a player capable of producing jaw-dropping performances both good and bad.
Both players are due back at some point later this month and both are viable options in any playoff rotation.
A.J. Griffin is trying to get back on track himself. He hasn’t been the most stable of performers but he’s provided some electric performances this season that make him a rotation candidate this autumn as well.
Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels are perhaps the best 1-2 punch in the AL. With them in place, the Texas Rangers just need to find two more starters to round out their playoff rotation. Their more-than-capable options already on hand could make the Rangers pitching staff formidable in any series.
The Texas Rangers clearly need to get to the playoffs first, but once they do, the starting rotation should be a asset for this Rangers team in their bid to bring home their first World Series.