Opening day is just right around the corner for the Texas Rangers, yet there are still plenty of free agents available. Could now be the time for the Rangers to strike a bargain deal with another starting pitcher?
Entering this off-season, it was clear the Texas Rangers main focus was targeted towards starting pitching. Cole Hamels and Martin Perez were the only starters held over from the 2017 season. It was obvious the Rangers were desperate to fill the three remaining spots. Without hesitation, Jon Daniels quickly pulled off three acquisitions.
He signed Mike Minor to a three year $28 million dollar contract. Doug Fister received a short one year $4 million dollar deal. Later, the Rangers traded minor league pitching prospects Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz in exchange for veteran starting pitcher Matt Moore.
Although, the Rangers have a set rotation of Hamels, Perez, Minor, Fister, and Moore, there still remains a possibility they target one more quality arm. The current group is simply filled with too many unreliable veterans.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the Rangers current state of the rotation. The majority of these starters are quickly declining in a variety of ways. If the Rangers want to have any chance of contending in 2018, then another starter is what they’ll need to pursue.
Alex Cobb has always had an extraordinary amount of potential, but unfortunately multiple injuries have stunted his development. Last season, was his first full season since the 2014 campaign.
Cobb posted a solid 12-10 W/L record and a 3.66 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays last season. Possibly the most promising accomplishment was his career high 179.1 innings pitched and 29 games started.
He has an impressive 48-35 W/L record and a 3.50 ERA over his entire six year career. If he can remain healthy, there’s no doubt he could fit in perfectly as a No. 2 or 3 in the Rangers rotation.
Most people don’t view Lance Lynn as someone with ace potential, but he can definitely provide great consistency for any rotation. Similar to Cobb, Lynn also has a history of injuries. He missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
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Lynn bounced back quite well last season as he posted a 11-8 W/L record and a 3.43 ERA. For someone rebounding from Tommy John surgery, those are terrific numbers.
There are still some major concerns involving Lynn’s dramatic increase in FIP. He posted a career worst 4.82 FIP. An unbelievable increase from his previous career worst 3.49 FIP in 2012. He surrendered a career high 27 home runs. Also far worse than his previous career high of 16 homes in 2012.
Lynn has posted a 72-47 W/L record and a 3.38 ERA over his six year career. Even though he hasn’t been extremely dominant through the course of his career, it is rare to find a starting pitcher that has been as consistent as him.
He has the capability to fit very well in the Rangers rotation. He could be a solid starter throughout the season, but don’t be shocked if there is a slight increase in his earned run average.
The Rangers shocked the baseball world when they signed Andrew Cashner to a one year $10 million dollar contract last off-season. At the time, it seemed like a horrendous decision by general manager Jon Daniels.
Cashner had just posted a horrible 5-11 W/L record and a 5.25 ERA during his time with both the Padres and Marlins in 2016. The Rangers didn’t expect to get much from Cashner coming off his worst season of his career.
He ended up proving all the doubters wrong as he emerged as the Rangers best starting pitcher in 2017. He posted a solid 11-11 W/L record and a 3.40 ERA.
There’s no doubt plugging Cashner back into the rotation would be an immense upgrade over the majority of the current starters. He is comfortable with the players, Globe Life Park, and the severe heat conditions in the summer.
Much like Lynn, he also had an extremely high 4.61 FIP last season. Only 0.23 better than his horrendous 2016 season. Although there is definitely reasons to be concerned, the Rangers already have an idea of what Cashner is capable of contributing.
There are numerous reasons why adding one of these starters would benefit this team. Lynn and Cobb will both likely get a multi-year contract of $15-18 million per year. Unfortunately, the Rangers will have to sacrifice a compensation draft pick if they sign either one of them, because they both declined their $17.4 million dollar qualifying offers earlier this winter.
Cashner will likely demand a similar price that he received last off-season. Re-signing him would also allow the Rangers to kepp their draft pick, while also saving some extra money.
Signing either Cobb, Lynn, or Cashner is a realistic option to help improve the Rangers mediocre rotation. All three of these starters aren’t dominant, but they’ll give the Rangers a better chance to compete every time they step on the mound.