ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers throws in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
So the Texas Rangers are just going to go trade for David Price or Jeff Samardzija now, right?
After the likely season-ending injuries to Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, and the rehabbing Derek Holland still a month away, in a perfect world, from his 2014 debut, the Rangers need to fortify their starting rotation, right?
Well, yes. But they aren't going to be making any trades, at least now right now. First off, teams don't move quality starting pitching in May. Secondly, what's the point when you can just wait until July and see if you're still in contention and if it's still worth losing prospects?
So what are the Rangers to do? Well, they still have their saving grace/ace Yu Darvish, and they'll win the majority of the games he starts. But what about those other four games out of every five? That's where things get hairy.
Right now, after Darvish, Colby Lewis is guaranteed a spot, and most likely Robbie Ross Jr., even though it'd still be best if he were back in the bullpen. Now, though, that's probably not going to be possible.
After those three, who fills out the No. 4 and No. 5 starters' jobs? Nick Tepesch definitely made a case on Wednesday, pitching 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts. Joe Saunders is nearing a return from the disabled list, and Nick Martinez has been mostly good in every opportunity and every role he's been used this year. There's also veteran swingman Scott Baker, who was recalled on Wednesday.
The Rangers would ultimately like to keep Martinez in the bullpen, a role he's flourished in on top of making two decent spot starts this year. They'd like to have Saunders be good enough to be a part of the back end of the rotation because he eats innings and can help preserve a ragged bullpen. Baker is a complete wild card, but will figure in on the big-league staff somewhere unless he completely falls apart.
My best guess for the rotation moving forward, until Holland is able to return and slide into the No. 2 spot (again, in a perfect world): Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Robbie Ross Jr., Joe Saunders, Nick Tepesch.
That leaves Martinez in the bullpen, where he could serve as a long man and possibly even a sixth-inning guy with Baker as the long man.
The Rangers have plenty of options moving forward, they just aren't solid ones. And they aren't going to be coming from the outside unless this club is still alive come July 31.