ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been the most active team in the Majors this winter as far as adding starting pitching. That's not a difficult feat considering the free-agent starting-pitching market has been mostly stagnant to this point.The Rangers entered the offseason needing to fill three rotation spots in the
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been the most active team in the Majors this winter as far as adding starting pitching. That's not a difficult feat considering the free-agent starting-pitching market has been mostly stagnant to this point.
The Rangers entered the offseason needing to fill three rotation spots in the rotation and have done so by signing Doug Fister and Mike Minor, and trading for Matt Moore. They go with Cole Hamels and Martin Perez to give the Rangers a potentially set rotation.
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But it may not be completely set, as Minor gives them flexibility. The Rangers said Minor will be given a chance to start, but he was a dominating reliever for the Royals last season.
He could be used in that role again if the Rangers sign a front-line starting pitcher. That remains a possibility considering the number of front-line starters still unsigned, including Yu Darvish. MLB.com is taking a look at the projected rotation of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Rangers might stack up:
ROTATION IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Cole Hamels, LHP
Martin Perez, LHP
Doug Fister, RHP
Matt Moore, LHP
Mike Minor LHP
This is an experienced rotation. The Rangers' top five has made a combined 936 Major League starts and has 21 qualifying seasons. All five have had success. Four of the five are left-handed but the dimensions of Globe Life Park seem to tilt in their favor. Fister increases the Rangers' ability to cut down on the walks. Perez and Moore were once top prospects with the expectations they would develop into top-of-rotation starters, which is what Hamels has always been.
This would be the best rotation in baseball if this was 2013, but all five have had their issues since then. Hamels missed two months last year with a strained right oblique muscle, Moore's 5.52 ERA was the highest among qualifiers in the Major Leagues last season and Perez's ERA was sixth highest at 4.82. Fister had a 4.88 ERA in 15 starts and three relief appearances for the Red Sox.
WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
The Rangers could sign another impact starter. Darvish is still out there and so is Jacob Arrieta. Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are considered next in the free agent hierarchy and the Rangers are still in contact with Andrew Cashner. The Rangers are also considering the possibility of moving reliever Matt Bush into the rotation. No matter what happens, the Rangers still need more depth behind the five they have now.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.