The Texas Rangers are still looking for starting pitching depth according to a report from Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The Rangers have reportedly entered talks with the Cleveland Indians, who possess substantial starting pitching depth.
By the depth chart on their site, the Rangers seem set on Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland as starters. With both Tanner Scheppers and Yu Darvish out to start the season, that leaves A.J. Griffin as the most likely candidate for the fifth starting job. However, it appears that on the eve of Opening Day, the Rangers are trying to address that.
The Indians rotation has been set with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Cody Anderson, and Josh Tomlin. That means Trevor Bauer will be relegated to bullpen duties to begin the season.
After getting drafted third overall in the 2011 MLB Draft, Bauer hasn't lived up to his potential. While he throws hard, his strikeout rate has never been what it was in the minors, his walk rate is still problematic, and his home run rate even took a hit last year. The Rangers could still be interested in Bauer though, as he does seem to flash brilliance between his command woes.
With such a deep prospect system from which to make a deal, the Rangers could be looking to acquire Carrasco, Salazar or Anderson. With Opening Day so close, a deal involving Carrasco or Salazar would be monumental. On the other hand, while Anderson is young, his low strikeout rate could suppress his value enough for a deal to be worthwhile. However, all three are still under many years of team control and could be difficult to pry from the cost-conscious Indians.
The 31-year old Tomlin is under contract for the next three seasons and could be on the Rangers' radar. Tomlin hasn't pitched more than 105 innings since 2011, so he could represent a good, flexible, low-cost place holder until Darvish returns.
Whether a trade actually takes place this close to Opening Day seems unlikely. However, the Rangers and Indians seem to line-up nicely enough that it could happen.