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Upgrade or Maintain: The Rangers Rotation Decision

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    While we're sure you're regular readers of all the good stuff that Red Fever has to offer, we do want to make sure that nothing is slipping through the cracks from time to time. 

    We're doing that this Wednesday to make sure that you're keeping up with Adam Boedeker's series of possible free agent targets for the Rangers this offseason. Adam's been hitting one a day and there's been a special focus on pitchers of late. Anibal Sanchez, Hiroki Kuroda and (spoiler alert for a bit later on Wednesday) Kyle Lohse have come up for discussion even while Sanchez is still trying to win a World Series. 

    There's a lot to talk about with these pitchers and more than a few others who could also wind up on the radar. Before you can delve too deeply into conversations about fit or ability, though, it is important to consider just what the Rangers are looking for from a pitcher. 

    Are they looking for a guy who can front the rotation if necessary and seriously alter the team's chances of making it back to the World Series? Or are they confident enough in Yu Darvish growing into an elite pitcher as well as optimistic enough about Colby Lewis' chances of a healthy return to set their sights lower? 

    Sanchez, Kuroda and Lohse would fit into the second category. All are fine pitchers and all are capable of going on jags that can fuel strong runs by their entire team, but you wouldn't think World Series contender if you saw any of them as the starting pitcher on Opening Day. There are others in that category, but any of the names generally allow the Rangers to maintain what they hoped to get from Ryan Dempster. 

    The price for Zack Greinke wasn't one the Rangers were willing to pay via a trade, but he's the only free agent who would obviously change the shape of the Texas rotation. He'd give them a true No. 1 with two guys who did a fair enough job playing at the role in Darvish and Matt Harrison right behind him. If that's something the Rangers want, there are also trade possibilities, David Price jumps to mind, to consider. 

    We'd opt for the second path. The easiest way for the Rangers to separate themselves from the AL pack is to put together the best pitching staff imaginable heading into next season. The offense could be tweaked, but they scored the most runs in the league this season. That can't be said enough and, since there's always more offense on the market than quality pitching, an upgrade in the rotation is the one most likely to help the Rangers next season. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.