During the reign of Nolan Ryan as team president and then principal owner of the Texas Rangers, a dynamic shift in organizational philosophy has occurred. The Rangers, long-recognized as an offensive powerhouse, have begun to place as much focus on the depth of their pitching staff as they have on the strength of their lineup.
The mindset of Ryan, a revered Hall of Fame pitcher, has permeated the entire organization, and recently the Rangers have produced numerous impact pitchers that have made their mark upon the Major League stage.
In regards to starting pitchers, the Rangers' entire 2011 rotation was comprised of hurlers reared in the franchise's minor league system, an impressive feat that helps to highlight the team's recent success in the development of quality pitching.
C.J. Wilson, last year's staff ace, and the longest-tenured Ranger among the starting staff, is currently a free agent and, following a stellar year, is attracting significant attention from suitors across the league.
While Wilson, as well as the Rangers, have both expressed an interest in continuing their working relationship, once a player reaches the open market, prices can escalate beyond the level of a team's desire to retain a player.
Even if Wilson were to sign elsewhere, the Rangers's rotation has at least four returning members, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando. Barring any trades of course, the continuity is encouraging.
There is also the possibility that the Rangers follow through on their plan to convert Neftali Feliz back into a starting pitcher after two full seasons as the team's closer. If he still projects as a top-flight starter in the eyes of the organization, he would offer more value in the rotation, rather than the bullpen.
Though the rotation boasts some promising arms, all capable of quality performances in 2012, the Rangers have been exploring their options, hoping to secure a veteran presence atop their starting staff.
Let's take a look at some of the top starting pitching options that the Rangers are rumored to be considering this offseason.