As much as most Texas Rangers fans have enjoyed this pitching-rich first half of the 2013 season, one doesn’t have to dig deep to see it could be a stormy second half.
Yu Darvish missed the All-Star Game, the result of going on the disabled list. In doing so he joined Matt Harrison, Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz. That’s six starting pitchers on the disabled list. None of that includes Justin Grimm’s balky forearm.
The Rangers, thus far, have taken a finger-in-the-levee approach to shoring up the starting rotation. Players like Tepesch, Grimm, Martin Perez, Ross Wolf and Josh Lindblom have performed admirably the past three months.
But it’s time for the Rangers to build a dam and stop the flooding. It’s time for the Rangers to make a deal for the Cubs’ Matt Garza. And it needs to happen now.
With six pitchers on the disabled list, it’s time for the Rangers to build a dam and stop the flooding.
The Rangers are one of four teams reportedly interested in acquiring Garza, who has been on the Rangers’ radar before. This time around he would be a rent-a-player, as he is not under contract for 2014 and the Cubs have no interest in locking him up long-term as they rebuild under team president Theo Epstein.
Garza got off to a late start, as he was on the disabled list himself until May 11. Since then he’s started 11 games, gone 6-1 with a 3.17 earned run average, 62 strikeouts and 20 walks. He’s gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last six starts.
That’s music to the Rangers’ ears. They like pitchers that can strike out hitters and go deep into games.
Garza could pay off immediately. Not only would he come to Arlington pitching on a tear, but it would make the Rangers less likely to rush Darvish, Harrison or Ogando back. Garza has pitched in the postseason and knows the rigors of pennant races from his days in Tampa.
Then once those guys are healthy, you have a five-man rotation of Darvish, Garza, Derek Holland, Harrison and Ogando. Or Lewis. Or Perez. The point is that you have a rotation that can get you to the postseason and excel once they get there.
The price for Garza? It sounds like corner infielder Mike Olt is the key to this deal. The Cubs need a third baseman and there’s no place to put Olt in Arlington. This is one of those times when using a top prospect to complete a deal that could lead to another World Series makes sense.
He won’t be the only player in the deal. But he’ll be the most important. Besides, if you can make this deal without giving up Jurickson Profar, that makes sense long-term for the Rangers.
You might even be able to sign Garza long-term, as he’s spent three sorry seasons in Chicago. The Rangers look like they’re built to win for a long time.
Some might look at this as another Chris Davis deal. Don’t. Yes, we’re all revising the Davis deal after his huge first half, but remember that Davis was inconsistent his final two seasons in Texas.
The Rangers were in the midst of a pennant race and needed bullpen help. It didn’t seem like Davis was going to turn it around. Sometimes players just need a change of scenery.
Davis has flourished in Baltimore. There’s no guarantee he would have flourished in Texas had he stayed.
There are no guarantees in this deal, either, except that Garza is a much better pitcher than Koji Uehara, whom the Rangers received for Davis.
Rumor has it the Rangers are the front-runners for Garza. Rumor has it the deal could go down in the next 72 hours. They need to get to the finish line first. Winning a heated AL West race with Oakland may depend on it.