The Texas Rangers haven't had a great track record in recent years in turning relief pitchers into successful starters. In all honesty, they aren't alone there. Most of the time, relievers are relievers and starters are starters, and every now and then, you see an exception.
The biggest exception in recent memory was C.J. Wilson, who was a great starter for Texas in 2010 and 2011 before heading off to Anaheim in 2012. To a lesser extent, there was Alexi Ogando, who was an elite setup man before becoming a very good starter who ultimately failed as a rotation guy, but not after some real success.
But for every Wilson, and to a lesser extent Ogando, there has been a Tanner Scheppers and a Robbie Ross, both of whom were massive failures who might have had their careers ruined by ill-fated attempts to transition a good reliever to the rotation.
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Could Phil Klein be the next one? On one hand, Klein has barely had a big-league career and isn't nearly as accomplished as any of those aforementioned names when it comes to relief success. On the other, it's hard to take a young, lively arm and risk ruining it by having him do something he's never done in professional baseball, and that's what the Rangers are doing with Klein.
They already made the move to shift Klein to the Triple-A rotation, swapping him and prospect Luke Jackson, who has been a starter for a few years in the system but is now being given an audition as a late-inning reliever. Now, it appears Klein could be set to be called up and start a game Wednesday in Boston against the Red Sox.
Klein isn't a starter, at least not yet. He might be able to give them four innings. He's made two starts in his professional career — his last two outings — and pitched a combined 8 1/3 innings in those two starts. Of course, he only allowed a run and three hits in that time, so that's good, but he's still being stretched out as a starter.
Will Klein be the next arm the Rangers ruin? Or will he be the next C.J. Wilson, minus the hilariously dumb soundbites?