Five Key Holes the Rangers Need to Fill This Winter, and How They Should Fill Them

Categories: Sports

1. Who will fill the opening in the starting rotation?
Free agents: Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez

Trade targets: R.A. Dickey, Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, Cliff Lee, David Price, James Shields

With Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland guaranteed rotation spots in 2013, that leaves room for someone else, preferably a top-of-the-rotation starter. Jake Peavy re-upped with the White Sox, so Greinke and Kuroda are the only free agents fitting that description, and I don't see either coming to Texas. Kuroda is likely to return to the Yankees or Dodgers and Greinke's price tag will be too high, leaving the trade market as the best route to obtain a frontline starter.

The Rays might be willing to part with 27-year-old lefty David Price, even though he's an AL Cy Young Award candidate and under control for three more years, because of their abundance of great arms and need for offensive help and salary relief. Jurickson Profar would be able to step in and play shortstop for them and Mike Olt could play first base, representing significant offensive and defensive upgrades both short and long term at low salaries. If the Rangers tossed in Martin Perez and maybe someone else, and it would be hard for Tampa Bay to pass up such an offer.

It's hard to part with some of the best young players in the organization, but it's a necessary cost if Texas wants someone of Price's caliber, which is why I proposed a similar deal for Felix Hernandez at this year's trade deadline. And I'd still do that deal in a heartbeat, assuming King Felix could be had.

I've also advocated in the past to trade for James Shields, who makes $9 million next year and has a $12 million option for 2014. For whatever reason, he doesn't seem to get fans as excited as they are about Greinke, but the stats suggest there's very little difference between the two.

Greinke (1,492 career innings): 91-78 record, 3.77 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.25 WHIP Shields (1,452.2 career innings): 87-73 record, 3.89 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 1.22 WHIP

Greinke (2012): 15-5 record, 3.48 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 1.20 WHIP
Shields (2012): 15-10 record, 3.52 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 1.17 WHIP

It would also make sense for Texas to try a deal for probable NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who makes just $5 million in 2013 but could be available because the Mets have been unsuccessful in their attempts to sign him to a long-term contract.

If the Rangers can't swing a deal for an ace, I'd rather they give Robbie Ross a shot in the rotation than sign a mid-level starter for too much dough. If he doesn't show promise as a starter after a few months in the rotation, Colby Lewis -- who was re-signed in mid-September to a one-year, $2 million contract with incentives -- could be an option to replace him if he returns around the All-Star break as expected.

Next: Oh, Josh.

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ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Oh and Thanks Joe for letting Merten sling us a little baseball writing, its always a good read

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

On trading SS, would you rather have the known of Elvis who could leave in 2 years or Profar under long term control?  Couldnt you hope to fleece someone ala the Texiera trade with Elvis?


With Hambone, could you see this team changing over from a power hitting HR machine to a more speedy slap the ball around and run the hell out of teams?  Wouldnt that be wasting the advantage we have as a power team in our park


I say give Soria a shot in the pen.  You got Nathan to close but he is on his last year and if Soria fully recovers from his surgery and is anywhere near where he was last year, he slides right into the closer role in 2014.


Id rather pay Napoli more to hit .220 here than Arencibia, at least we know Nap works well with the staff



 Nobody is going to pull a robbery like the Rangers did with the Braves ever again. That was like the Herchel Walker trade. But even if someone was dumb enough to do that, it wouldnt be for a player like Elvis. Tex had muuuch more value at the time. The guy was a .300 hitter with power and also just happened to be the best defensive first baseman in the league. And yes, I did say was.


I agree about Soria but expect him to sign with the Yankees. They will need him if they dont resign Soriano. His agent said that going to New York to set up Mo is the only place that he would be willing to go if he wasnt going to be the 9th inning guy.

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @JustSaying true on the trade but Elvis is the next Jeter, but Im sure if we traded him to NY we'd choose Arias over Cano.


 @Mervis I agree that Elvis is not the next Jeter. But its not like Jeter is known for his power. I think the main difference is, as much as I like Andrus, he always seems to make one bone-headed play per game. It might be baserunning, it might be fielding. He just always seems to pull one head scratcher out of his ass. Jeter never did that.



@ScottsMerkin @JustSaying Elvis is not the next Jeter because he lacks any kind of power. 4 years and here are his HR total 5,6,0,3.

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