It took just more than 24 hours, beginning Saturday evening, for the Rangers to see their top off-season pitching option and one of their fallback options go from available to long gone. Zack Greinke took the Dodgers' millions, and James Shields was traded from Tampa Bay to Kansas City. The Rangers were said to be optimistic about their chances, but Greinke got money-whipped and gets to hit and the Royals parted with their top prospect. The Rangers almost certainly were unwilling to unload their best prospect, Jurickson Profar. With the starting-pitching market now thinned considerably, the Rangers might not add the rotation upgrade they have been seeking. They have shown interest in R.A. Dickey, but the Mets' asking price has been too high. Anibal Sanchez is a free agent, though his price tag could exceed what the Rangers would be comfortable paying for a starter who has never logged 200 innings. The same could be true for another free-agent right-hander, Kyle Lohse, who just turned in the best year of his career. So, the group of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Martin Perez could very well open the season as the five members of the Rangers' rotation. General Jon Daniels as said that he is comfortable going into 2013 with that group. Look at it this way: They all come reasonably priced, and three of them are All-Stars. Also, Colby Lewis is expected to be at full strength by July. The money saved on Greinke would be better served on Josh Hamilton than a starter who might not be much of an upgrade. The prospects the Rangers covet could help keep payroll from going to batty in upcoming seasons. And, hey, maybe those prospects will actually pan out. They might have to, considering how the past two days have gone for the Rangers.
Cooper Neill/Getty Images