When the Texas Rangers acquired Cole Hamels at the trade deadline last year despite being several games out of the playoff hunt, it was pretty clear what Jon Daniels was thinking.
Getting a guy like Hamels, who's controllable through 2018, or 2019 if they pick up a team option, would be awesome when you can pair him with another ace like Yu Darvish, who at the time was months removed from Tommy John surgery.
The move wasn't seemingly made for 2015, but instead for 2016 and 2017 before Darvish becomes a free agent to have him atop the team's starting rotation with a fellow ace.
Well, we're about to see that.
With Darvish tentatively set to make his season debut on Saturday against the Pirates, it's officially on. Of course, Hamels will start Friday putting him as the "No. 1" on the Rangers staff moving forward and Darvish squarely plugged in right behind him. The definition of a 1-2 punch.
In fact, after Hamels' domination of the Astros on Sunday (11 Ks in seven innings), the Rangers' starting rotation ERA was the best in the American League. And now, they're getting Darvish to throw into the mix as he's allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings worth of rehab starts.
Tap the brakes on Darvish, of course. It's going to take some time before he finds his past dominance against big-league hitters, but assuming he finds it in the next few months and assuming the Rangers make the playoffs again, that duo is going to front a pretty scary playoff rotation.