The Rangers have yet to declare a fifth starter as they work to assess possible trade scenarios for adding another rotation piece, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Most recently, the club has engaged the Indians in talks about a swap that would send a reliever from Texas to Cleveland in exchange for a starting pitcher.
Texas appears to have interest in improving over A.J. Griffin for the final rotation slot while strengthening its long-term depth. As for Cleveland, the team’s pen currently projects to include several reclamation arms — including Joba Chamberlain, Ross Detwiler, and Dan Otero — and could certainly benefit from an acquistion.
As Grant notes, there’s little question that the top three Indians’ arms aren’t changing hands. But the next three men up — Cody Anderson, Josh Tomlin, and Trevor Bauer — are seemingly in play. Bauer, of course, was just bumped to the pen in a surprising move after a strong spring. It’s not clear which of the three is under discussion.
It’s also not apparent which member of the deep Texas pen could be parted with. Grant says that the club had previously talked about both Shawn Tolleson and Keone Kela with the Diamondbacks, though that was in an effort to get Archie Bradley. Other Rangers’ late-inning arms with appeal include Tom Wilhelmsen, Sam Dyson, and lefty Jake Diekman.
Of course, it’s also possible that a less significant match-up could make sense. Cleveland has other rotation options — T.J. House comes to mind — that could probably be had for less. And Texas has a number of other pen candidates, including just-designated southpaw Sam Freeman.