MLB Rumors: Texas Rangers' Cautious Approach Will Cost Them AL West

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2012

Time to make a move, fellas.
Time to make a move, fellas.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers hold a four-game lead in the American League West, but their timid approach to the MLB trade market is going to cost them the division.

They need a starting pitcher to add to their rotation, and according to's Jason A. Churchill, they are hemming and hawing about possibly adding Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields and Miami Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson.

The Los Angeles Angels—their division rivals and closest competition—made a major move to improve their starting pitching rotation by adding Zack Greinke in exchange for rookie shortstop Jean Segura and two minor-league prospects, according to the AP

He'll likely step in for the struggling Ervin Santana, who was just relegated to bullpen duty, according to Los Angeles Times writer, Mike DiGiovanna:

Change of pitching plans for #Angels: Santana will not start Friday vs. #Rays so he can get some power bullpen sessions in.

— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) July 25, 2012


The Oakland Athletics, who are a half-a-game back of the Angels and only 4.5 games back of the Rangers, just got better, too. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:

#brewers have agreed to a deal to send george kottaras to the #athletics. @jonmorosi 1st said they were nearing trade.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 28, 2012

The A's and Angels have both been on hot streaks of late—the A's even more so than the Rangers—and the Rangers have only won half of their last 10.

The pendulum is starting to swing the other way for them, and if they have any chance of getting their momentum back, they need to make a bold move.

I understand the reasons why the Rangers are reticent to sign Shields or Johnson. Neither one is as good as Greinke—the top arm on the trade market. But, the Rangers failed to capitalize on the chance to land him, and now they'll have to pick from what's left on the market. 

There are different ways to look at it, though. According to T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers aren't excited about Johnson because he's had a shaky record on the road and his career has had its fair share of ups and downs. 

My take is that you put a guy like Johnson on a roster loaded with offense like the one the Rangers have, and you're going to see him win more than he loses. The Marlins have been the second-to-last team in terms of runs scored this year, while the Rangers are the third-best in that department, according to

Those extra runs per game make what looks to be a mediocre pitcher into a better-than-average guy. 

James Shields is in the same boat with the Rays, as they're ranked in the lower half in runs scored. He's no ace, but given a solid run-producing lineup to support him, he'll do better than the 8-7 record he's compiled so far this year. 

Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan need to be aggressive here and nab one of these two pitchers while they still can. If they continue to stay cautious, the Rangers are going to find themselves falling down the standings and out of the playoffs.