No way around it: The Rangers need a starting pitcher
Those numbers listed above are the amount of innings the Rangers starting pitchers have completed going into the final weekend before the All Star Break. With Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, and Yu Darvish all on the shelf right now, Texas had to go deep in their system looking for people to trot out to the mound on a nightly basis.
A.J. Griffin looked back to his 2013 self early in the season before he went on the DL. Once he came back, it was a no brainer to keep him in the rotation. Nick Martinez was having a very solid year at AAA, and was one of the other obvious choices to start a few games. Michael Roth, like Martinez, was having a solid year as well. Chi Chi Gonzalez had made a few starts with the Rangers last year, and despite his inability to strike people out had a decent run of things. At the end of May, the Rangers signed long time big leaguer Kyle Lohse to a minor league deal, in hopes of reinforcing an already shaky group of options.
After the last week and a half or so, it’s apparent that the Rangers need to acquire a reliable major league starter. A top to middle of the rotation guy who they can rely on night in and night out to get the job done. It’s also clear that both Martinez and Gonzalez are not good enough to be full time starters in the major leagues right now. Gonzalez likely made his final start for the time being during Thursday’s 10-1 beat down courtesy of the Twins. He won’t be missed, with Darvish slated to make his return during the team’s trip to Chicago the weekend after the All Stat Break. With Lewis and Holland on longer roads to recovery, the necessary acquisition is about bumping Nick Martinez, Cesar Ramos, or whoever else they want to use in that fifth spot if they are serious about contending the rest of the way. A rotation with Griffin as the 5th guy looks a lot better than one with him as the 3rd or 4th. When/if Holland and Lewis return, that would give the Rangers seven major league starters. Seven guys capable of being trusted on any given night to eat innings while giving the team a chance to win.
I’m not saying go out and get Jose Fernandez or Chris Sale, but Jake Odorizzi, Tyson Ross, or Julio Teheran would go a long long way in getting this team to the playoffs. Texas can’t go six or seven more weeks without having another guy in there if they want to hang on to their division lead. Given Jon Daniels’ track record I believe he’s as aware as everyone else is of the problem, and will address it accordingly. The bullpen is gassed, with the Rangers having used both Bryan Holaday and Jared Hoying to pitch in the last week. As manager Jeff Banister said, it starts with starting pitching.
The obvious needs to be stated sometimes, and this to me is stating the obvious. The Rangers need a starting pitcher before August 1st. It’s not a want as it was a month ago. It is an absolute 100% need.