Jesse Thomas is a writing teacher from Wichita Falls, Texas. He follows the Rangers religiously, and is going to contribute some posts here at MLBTradeRumors.com. Below is his first.
I know it’s something not commonly associated with the Texas Rangers, but an abundance of quality pitching may force Jon Daniels to look at potential trade suitors at the end of Spring Training. The Rangers have no less than five guys competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, and they are overflowing with relievers.
The Rangers had made it clear that they would’ve liked one of their in-house guys to win the starting job. Josh Rupe seemed to be the favorite early on, but has struggled recently. The Rangers brought in veterans Bruce Chen (5-0, 0.72 ERA in winter ball) and Jamey Wright, and they have impressed. However, look for the decision to come down to Wright or Kameron Loe.
Believe it or not, the team is even more crowded in the bullpen. With Eric Gagne as the projected closer and Akinori Otsuka as the setup man, the Rangers have a host of guys, some of whom have no minor league options, competing for one or two spots.
What this all means is that the Rangers will most likely have a few extra pieces at the end of camp. Not superstar quality types, but serviceable major league pitchers. Look for Daniels to trade one or two of these guys for either a backup to Gerald Laird at catcher or a utility infielder if Jerry Hairston or Desi Relaford do not perform. The one fly in the ointment is if a team like Boston or Cleveland in need of a closer blows away Daniels with an offer for Otsuka (32 saves, 2.11 ERA). He’s not shopping the guy, but he will listen to offers.