Rangers Prefer To Keep Their Pitching Depth

The Rangers "might prefer" to keep some of the extra arms on their pitching staff rather than make a trade, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsScott Feldman, Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe are cited as Rosenthal as the expendable members of the Rangers staff but they look likely to remain in Texas unless relievers Robert Ross or Tanner Scheppers perform well enough in Spring Training to earn jobs, which could convince the club to deal one of their veterans.

Most of the Rangers' rotation and bullpen jobs are set, and the presence of Alexi Ogando as a swingman gives Texas some backup if one of the starters falters.  This leaves Feldman, who has battled both injuries and ineffectiveness since his breakout 2009 campaign.  Feldman did pitch well in limited action in 2011 — a 3.94 ERA and 2.20 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.  The right-hander will earn $6.5MM this season and the Rangers hold a $9.25MM club option on him for 2013 that looks almost certain to be bought out (at a cost of $600K).

Feldman, Uehara and Lowe all drew trade buzz over the winter, with the Red Sox showing interest in the two relievers, and Uehara using his limited no-trade clause to reject a proposed deal to the Blue Jays.  Uehara has posted better numbers than Lowe over the last three seasons but turns 37 in April and is earning $4MM in 2012; Lowe is eight years younger and a cheaper option at just $1.7MM.

Rosenthal notes that the Rangers received calls about Colby Lewis during the offseason as well, but the club preferred to keep the right-hander due to his durability (200+ IP in each of the last two seasons).  It's no surprise Texas wanted to keep Lewis since their rotation, while deep and promising, has several question marks — Matt Harrison and Derek Holland aren't yet completely proven entities as reliable starters, Neftali Feliz is transitioning to starting from the bullpen and Yu Darvish is making his debut to North American baseball.


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