ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
When it was announced on Tuesday that Texas Rangers starting pitching Matt Harrison was being shut down for the remainder of the season and wouldn't be rejoining the Rangers' rotation, it sent some shock waves through the team's plan down the stretch and also some thankfulness toward general manager for his acquisition of Matt Garza before the trade deadline.
Harrison, who is in the first year of his five-year, $55 million deal, was supposed to be rock of the Rangers' starting rotation this year right up there with ace Yu Darvish. Instead, he made two starts in April and gave up 10 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. And still, the Rangers are a game up in the AL West. That's the good thing.
The bad thing? Harrison being shut down along with fellow rehabbing starting pitcher Colby Lewis means the Rangers are pretty resigned to riding the Alexi Ogando train as the team's fifth starter. It's true, the No. 5 starter is of minimal importance given the fact that once the postseason rolls around, if the Rangers are fortunate to play in it, the No. 5 starter slides back to the bullpen and teams go to a four-man rotation.
At this point, one would assume the Rangers would roll with a playoff rotation of Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Garza and rookie Martin Perez, who would make one start in a best-of-seven series. That's all well and good, as Perez has clearly passed Ogando on the starting pitching totem pole. And if everyone stays healthy down the stretch, then that's a pretty solid four-man rotation.
But what if one of those four gets hurt, specifically those top three. Then the Rangers are in trouble.
You'd have to think the Rangers are on the look out to add some depth in the starting pitching department and they started that movement on Wednesday afternoon when they traded for Houston relief pitcher Travis Blackley, the former Oakland pitcher who's been both a reliever and a starter in his career. He'll be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock and will be stretched out to start.
There are other guys out there who could fill in and possibly even move into the No. 5 starter spot immediately and allow the Rangers to try to transition Ogando back to the bullpen sooner rather than later.
Do you think the Blackley acquisition is enough insurance? Are you comfortable rolling with Ross Wolf as a starter? Or do the Rangers need to go get a reliable veteran on the cheap to take Ogando's rotation spot immediately? Let us know.