The Rangers have the foundation built in their starting rotation with Mike Minor and Lance Lynn both coming off tremendous seasons. Despite that, Texas has to look to add another impact starter that can create a legitimate top half of the rotation that can compete in a playoff chase. There are tons of options out there to choose from and plenty that would be an instant upgrade on the in-house options Texas currently has. The Rangers have a chance to sign a true ace or to go for a third starter and either option works well.
The top tier options out there are far and away Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, both of whom are Cy Young caliber starters. They’d both become the ace in Texas and give the Rangers a formidable trio of starters to push for the postseason. However, the Rangers don’t feel like natural fits for either guy who will be looking to sign for big money, long-term and for a winner. The next tier of starter though still carries some tremendous options in Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler. Assuming Texas misses out on the big fish, one of these guys could be a very welcomed consolation.
Prediction: Zack Wheeler
While Ryu is the free agent that I’ve seen Texas linked with most right now, I would guess that Texas might opt for the right hander Wheeler instead. Texas is pretty lefty heavy in rotation options and adding Wheeler could break that up. Wheeler is also the youngest of the aforementioned group not turning 30 until May of next season. He has significant injury concerns having missed all of 2015 and 2016 as well as part of 2017 with arm issues that included Tommy John surgery. Texas has shown they aren’t against taking risks on guys with injury issues and the upside in Wheeler is near ace stuff. His 2019 wasn’t stellar but it wasn’t bad either and he has room to grow. At worst, Texas might overpay for a third starter. At best, they get a heck of a bargain on a frontline starter who isn’t even 30 yet.