Can the Texas Rangers Rebuild Their Rotation Through Free Agency?
By Andrew Webb
The biggest question mark going into the off-season for the Texas Rangers is how to rebuild the starting rotation. Only two starters under contract for 2018, are the Rangers doomed?
It’s not going to be easy for the Texas Rangers to rebuild basically their entire starting rotation in one off-season. They currently have veteran lefty Cole Hamels under contract, and recently picked up the team option on southpaw Martin Perez.
The biggest targets on the free agent market are going to be former Rangers starter Yu Darvish and former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta. Both pitchers are going to be aiming for around $20-25 million a year.
The Rangers could pay that, but the fact they need three starters means they’ll probably go a different direction. Texas will likely go all-in on pitchers like Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and possibly bring back Andrew Cashner.
More from Nolan Writin'
- Framework for a potential Max Fried trade to the Texas Rangers
- Early 2023 MLB mock draft has Texas Rangers selecting an Ohtani-lite
- 3 Texas Rangers outfield trade targets not named Bryan Reynolds
- Did Jacob deGrom really mean what he said at his Texas Rangers press conference?
- Where do Texas Rangers prospects Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker stand after the DeGrom signing?
It would be nearly impossible for the Rangers to land all three Cobb, Lynn, and Cashner. Financially it’d be tight, and 29 other clubs could also be bidding on them. The Rangers may have to get creative to fill these rotation spots.
A likely scenario is the Rangers land one of the three middle-tier pitchers. Cashner is probably the best bet since he pitched in Arlington last season, and had arguably the best season of his career.
After that the Rangers go after a cheaper veteran pitcher for the back-end of the rotation. Someone like Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez a pitcher with experience who will sign a short-term deal for less than $10 million a year.
The last spot in the rotation will likely be filled in-house just for financial concerns. The Rangers still need to fill some bullpen roles, backup catcher, and at least one outfield spot. Texas can’t afford to spend all their money in one place.
Young lefty Yohander Mendez is the best bet for fifth starter, but A.J. Griffin and Nick Martinez will likely be in the running as well. Possibly a couple of veteran arms come in for Spring Training to fight for the fifth spot, but realistically it should be given to a younger pitcher.
The Rangers could be looking at a rotation of the following: Hamels, Cashner, Perez, Garza/Jimenez, Mendez. Not an awful rotation, but Texas can’t afford to pay a “star” pitcher big money in 2018.
Next: Could Profar Get Traded This Off-Season?
General manager Jon Daniels needs to spend his funding wisely if he wants to keep the Rangers competitive next season. They might not score the big name players, but they have more concerns than filling just one position.