Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #17 of Japan pitches during the World Baseball Classic. He has been posted to the MLB by his home team, Rakuten.
The Texas Rangers seemingly got the best pitcher to ever come out of Japan two years ago when they paid $51.7 million to talk to Yu Darvish, then gave him another $56 million to pitch at the top of their rotation.
The results have been everything the Rangers could have hoped for, and more.
Now, there's another Japanese pitching sensation that's hot on the radar of several teams in Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-1 last season in the Nippon Baseball League and is a training partner of Darvish's. It should be noted, according to just about everyone, Tanaka is no Darvish. Not even close.
But the Rangers, in their current state, could still use a "really good, not great" pitcher, especially after the news that Derek Holland is injured, right? There are no free agents that fit that mold. There's a bunch of "guys," as the best of the bunch is probably Bronson Arroyo, if you don't count Matt Garza, who the Rangers likely want no more of after his addition to the team last year for a load of prospects failed miserably.
The Rangers have been linked in the past to trading for Tampa Bay ace David Price, but that's not happening, at least not before the season begins.
This club seems to be one that's all-in for now. That's easily evidenced by the fact they traded for Prince Fielder and his big contract. They gave Shin-Soo Choo $130 million. See where we're going here? The Rangers want, and need, to win this season. Another season of not at least making the playoffs will be unacceptable, and Ron Washington's job would most likely be on the line.
The Rangers need to win now. They're set up to win now. Their plans are just being altered now with Holland's injury, and now they must adjust to that alteration.