In an ongoing series, we'll address offseason questions the Texas Rangers have to answer.
Alexi Ogando has been one of baseball's most versatile pitchers over the past two seasons.
In 2011, Ogando was thrust into the rotation at the end of spring training when Tommy Hunter (remember him?) was injured just before the Rangers broke camp. He went on to start the season 7-0 and go 9-3 in the first half while making the AL All-Star team as a starter.
He hit an innings wall later that year and was moved back to the bullpen at the end of the year where he excelled as a seventh- and eighth-inning guy in the postseason, going 2 2/3 scoreless in the ALDS and 7 2/3 innings while giving up just one run in the ALCS. Then, like the rest of the Rangers' overworked bullpen, he hit a wall in the World Series.
This season, when Neftali Feliz was moved to the rotation, Ogando went back to the bullpen and was dominant in many different roles before hitting the disabled list with a groin injury while making a spot start in San Francisco. Ogando was counted on in all bullpen roles — set-up man, seventh-inning guy, closer, even a guy that could give you two or three big innings in the middle of a game. He did it all.
After coming off the DL, he wasn't quite the same, but he was still very good. For the entire 2012 season, Ogando posted a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings of work.
So what should the Rangers do with Ogando in 2013? He's expressed interest in returning to the starting rotation, and the Rangers would be wise to accomodate those wishes. Ogando is a great talent with an electric fastball and a plus slider. He's worked on a change-up this past season and had it going at times, while it fell flat at times, as well.
If Ogando can develop that third pitch, he could be a great option for the Rangers' rotation, which at this point is only occupied by Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, who could be dealt this winter.
Why not let Ogando start the season in the rotation and see how things go. By the time Colby Lewis gets healthy and is ready to go in June or July, if Ogando seems better served in the pen you can make that change. Keep in mind, Feliz might be getting back too and would also be an option though it seems certain he'll return this season, when he does, in the bullpen.
The option are varied and there's plenty of them with all the pieces in the Rangers' pitching staff.
At this point, it seems Ogando's best fit would be another crack in the starting rotation keeping in mind that Ogando wasn't stretched out much in that 2011 spring training when he took over for an injured Hunter late in spring training.