Alexi Ogando has proven to be a valuable piece of the Texas Rangers' pitching staff throughout his time in Arlington, whether it be as a set-up man (2010), a starter (2011) or a versatile guy in the bullpen who can close games, pitch 2-3 innings or get one key out (2011/2012).
Even though he struggled down the stretch this season, like many other players on the team, he is still a valuable piece of the staff moving forward. But the prevailing question heading into the here-too-soon offseason is where Ogando will be working his craft in 2013 — the rotation or the bullpen?
Ogando made his feelings on the matter known on Saturday when he was cleaning out his locker at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as he talked to the media through his interpreter.
The 29-year-old, who has been absolutely dominant for stretches of his 2 1/2-year career, said he would prefer to start again in 2013 with the Rangers' brass set to start laying out a plan for the winter and spring here pretty soon.
"My wish is to be a starter, but they haven’t mentioned that at all," Ogando said through an interpreter. "I’m going to go into the offseason and get ready to pitch and whatever they decide, they decide."
Ogando put up a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings of work this season and spent good amounts of June and July on the disabled list after he suffered a groin injury while making a spot start in San Francisco, at which point his ERA was 2.08.
Last season, Ogando pitched in 31 regular-season games, making 29 starts and putting up a 13-8 record with a 3.51 ERA. Over the first half of the season, he was dominant, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.92 ERA before he faded over the second half after throwing just 41 2/3 innings in 2010 as the club's set-up man when he posted a 1.30 ERA.
Ogando is clearly talented enough to start in the big leagues, but he'll have to work on developing another pitch to go with his blistering fastball and slider. He's been working a change-up that still needs work, but he's got plenty of time to improve it. Two pitches will eventually get your brains beaten in as a big-league starter, and he needs to have three.
The only locks in the Rangers' rotation for 2013 are Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison, as well as Colby Lewis if he can work his way back from arm surgery. After that, everything's up for the taking.A