The Rangers’ starting rotation currently consists of Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, Vicente Padilla, Kameron Loe, and Juan Dominguez. Guys like C.J. Wilson, John Wasdin, and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could enter the picture as well.
The front three, while health risks, are fairly solid. I know the Rangers are enamored of Loe following his 3.42 ERA in 92 innings last year. But the lack of Ks and abnormally low accompanying hit rate spell darker days ahead. Still, if Loe can keep his ERA in the low 4s the Rangers would be ecstatic. So he’s not a problem.
Dominguez just needs to keep his ERA under 5 to maintain the fifth starter spot. I think he’s capable of that. Still, if he or Loe flames out or one of the front three gets injured, the Rangers would hate to turn to Wilson, Wasdin, or Dickey again. I think it’s highly likely that they’ll need to get a lot of starts out of someone not in the current front five.
The safe bet: acquire another veteran starter and use Dominguez in a swing role. The Rangers have several options here that could be helpful.
According to this morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Texas is interested in reacquiring John Thomson. Thomson is a control pitcher who’s been about league average in preventing the longball. He ate 217 innings for the Rangers in 2003 while posting a 4.85 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. The 32 year-old makes $4.75MM and is in his contract year. The Braves are considering moving him and putting Kyle Davies into the rotation. In 2005, Thomson missed several months after tearing a tendon in his middle finger.
Other than those two, there’s the pie-in-the-sky idea of luring Roger Clemens. Seems quite unlikely but would obviously be ideal. Jose Contreras, Erik Bedard, Matt Clement, and Bronson Arroyo are on the market for the right price. And though it’s a slim chance, if there’s one team for which Kerry Wood might waive his no-trade clause in July, it’s probably the Rangers.