Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
With Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson both being snatched up by other teams, the Texas Rangers missed out on signing a free agent starting pitcher, even though the Yu Darvish sweepstakes is still alive and well with the winning bid to negotiate with the Japanese phenom set to be announced Monday.
But if the Rangers don't land Darvish, they will be in need of a starting pitcher addition that would likely come in the trade market.
There's a few main targets out there on the trade market, most notably the Chicago Cubs' Matt Garza and the Chicago White Sox's John Danks, who started as a Rangers farmhand who was part of the vaunted DVD trio back in the day — Thomas Diamond, Edinson Volquez and John Danks.
There's also some other guys out there that are available, including Oakland A's starter Gio Gonzalez and Tampa Bay Rays ace James Shields.
The common theme with all of these guys is that they would cost a steep price in the trade market and a good batch of prospects from the Rangers' prospect-rich farm system.
Any of the aforementioned guys would likely take a package of corner infield prospect du jour Mike Olt, top pitching prospect Martin Perez, other prospects and probably a big leaguer — maybe David Murphy or Mitch Moreland, maybe even Derek Holland.
The Rangers would be foolish to trade Holland, and I don't think they would, but Murphy and Moreland are both expendable. Prospects are just that, prospects. The Rangers are built to win right now and in the future, so they can part with a couple of those guys because there's more behind them.
Here's a look at those four starting pitchers, and what they did last season and their ages:
Matt Garza, 28, CHC — 10-10, 198 IP, 3.32 ERA, 197 Ks, 63 walks, free agent in 2014
John Danks, 26, CHW — 8-12, 170.1 IP, 4.33 ERA, 135 Ks, 46 walks, free agent in 2013
Gio Gonzalez, 26, OAK — 16-12, 202 IP, 3.12 ERA, 197 Ks, 91 walks, free agent in 2016
James Shields, 29, TB — 16-12, 249.1 IP, 2.82 ERA, 225 Ks, 65 walks, free agent in 2013
Who should the Rangers go after? And at what price?