Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 25, 2012 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
What a difference a weekend makes, huh?
Conventional wisdom said, throughout last week's Winter Meetings, that the Los Angeles Dodgers were the runaway favorites to sign the top free agent pitcher, Zack Greinke, who was reportedly deciding between the cash-heavy Dodgers and the Texas Rangers.
Then word began to come out that Greinke, an analytical, brainy pitcher, was fascinated by the Rangers' triumvirate of pitching wisdom — Nolan Ryan, Mike Maddux and Greg Maddux. And then, all of the sudden, the Rangers were the "favorites" to land the coveted free agent.
Then, conventional wisdom won out as Greinke signed with the Dodgers on Sunday, taking what was seemingly Plan A for the Rangers off the table. Then, Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields was traded to the Kansas City Royals, taking the Rangers' No. 2 pitching option off the market. Ouch.
Is it time to freak out a little bit for the Rangers, who are looking at a 2013 rotation of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, ______________?
Not yet, but that top button is getting a little bit tighter.
The Rangers still have options for pitchers, most notably former Ranger and reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, a 38-year-old knuckleballer for whom the Rangers have reportedly offered stud third base prospect Mike Olt. Free agents like Kyle Lohse and Anibal Sanchez are still available too.
The dominoes will all start to fall soon, but the Rangers need to make something happen sooner rather than later.