Texas Rangers Fifth Starter Spot A Big Question Going into Spring Training


All Texas Rangers fans are pretty certain who starter number one through starter number four are going to be in some semblance of an order:

1. Yu Darvish

2. Martin Perez

3. Alexi Ogando

4. Matt Harrison

Barring an injury during Spring Training, heaven forbid, those will be the top four guys. But the Texas Rangers are less than a month away from reporting to camp and there is still a lot of buzz about picking up a fifth starter from free agency or bringing him up from within or pulling on of the Texas Rangers bull pen guys out of the pen and into the rotation. So who should it be? What should the Texas Rangers do? I don’t know, but what I do know is that it probably will not be decided until well into Spring Training.

Apr 20, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Tepesch (49) throws to the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

I think the guy that has a leg up on the job over everyone else right is Nick Tepesch. Nick pitched for a good portion of the 2013 season for the Texas Rangers, posting an ERA of 4.84 in 17 starts, and winning four of those starts. Not the greatest numbers, but compaired to Scheppers and Ross, he has seventeen more major league starts than either of these guys. I believe that Nick would come back this season and learn from the experience of 2013 and be a better pitcher than he was, improve off of the things he did good and fix some of his downfalls. I may be off base, we will see how he performs in Spring Training.

Jerome Williams was a free agent name that was thrown around, and I wrote an article saying I was against the Rangers signing him (read it here). I have since changed my mind thanks to a comment on the post by rngrchad that said competition for a spot is never a bad thing.

"I’d say it never hurts to have extra competition in spring training.  No one is giving a job to Jerome Williams.  If Robbie or Nick pitches lights out in the spring then the job is likely theirs,  and you keep Jerome add long man in the pen, something we didn’t have now anyway."

I now believe that the more competition the better. If the Texas Rangers make them work harder for the spot, then odds that whoever the pitcher is he will be the best of the bunch. I am all for that.

Robbie Ross was a  starters in the minor leagues, but have since become a very valuable piece in the Rangers bull pen, and I would hate to see him go, even if it meant he became a good starter. I think the pen is excellent and I really don’t want it to change. In 2011 Robbie started 26 games in the minor league system and he was 10-5 with a 2.34 ERA. But none of that was above the AA level. Tanner was not really a starter in the minors, having only eight starts total in the minors. We all know how well Tanner has pitched out of the Texas Rangers bull pen over the past two seasons, and he is also in consideration for the closers spot.

Last and more of a long shot would be players like Jose Contreras, Wilmer Font and Colby Lewis. I think Colby has the best shot of these guys, but I am just not sure he is going to be healthy enough or strong enough out of the gate to win the spot over some of the younger guys. I hope I am wrong and Colby makes a great case for himself to be back in the rotation. So who will be the Texas Rangers fifth starter? I think right now, it is anybody’s guess, but it is always fun to take a look at it.