We've talked about some of the holes the Texas Rangers could still fill on this 2013 squad. They still don't have a ton of depth in the lower-part of the starting rotation with the fifth spot up for grabs at this point with internal candidates. They don't yet know if they'll have to play without Nelson Cruz for 50 games this season, depending on what happens with MLB's investigation of the Miami New Times story.
Texas has some pieces that could entice teams to make a deal, if they wanted to poke around on filling some of these holes. But the reality is there aren't terrific options at this point via trade or free agency. Michael Bourn is a good player. But he doesn't hit for power and how comfortable are you giving a four- or five-year deal to a speed guy in his 30s? Kyle Lohse has pitched well and could help this rotation, but the long-term deal that agent Scott Boras requires may not be financially feasible either (or upgrade the club enough for the value, considering Texas can find out about one of its younger pitchers via the fifth-spot competition).
These needs, though, aren't likely to go away. Cruz is at the end of his contract anyway after 2013 and isn't likely to be re-signed, so the club has to look at alternatives there for the future. They are always wanting to build depth in the rotation and even with Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison at the top of that staff, another top-tier starter would be critical in keeping the contending window open longer for the Rangers.
Big names could be on the horizon. Besides an impressive free agent class heading into the 2014 season that includes some really good pitching options -- Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Brett Anderson and James Shields. As we've seen, the Rangers have had some trouble luring key pitching names to Arlington, most recently Zack Greinke. Plus, it's likely that Verlander, Kershaw and Hernandez re-sign with their current teams.
What about the trade front? David Price becomes a free agent after the 2014 season. Tampa Bay probably can't keep him, so they'd have to try to get as much value out of him as they could on the trade market, right? To be in the Price sweepstakes, you've got to have the assets. And they need to be young with upside.
Price is the kind of player that you at least have to consider putting any of your prospects on the table to acquire. That includes Jurickson Profar, though that may depend on whether the club thinks it can re-sign Elvis Andrus and if the Rays would consider a package that didn't include the highly-ranked shortstop. Texas can still put forth a competitive package without Profar, but only if they hang on to some of those key pieces now (like Mike Olt, Cody Buckel, Martin Perez, Leury Garcia and others). It might also mean being willing to deal a starting pitcher currently under contract, like Derek Holland or Harrison.
It isn't just about assets in the form of players, either. It's the financial flexibility (a term that offends Mavericks fans and may scare some Rangers fans) that helps too. Other names could pop up from teams that either aren't contending at the deadline and want to save money by unloading a player with a high salary. That could mean the Rangers need to give up players in a trade and not be afraid to pay big money to get a piece that could be the difference in making the playoffs and winning a championship.
To even have the opportunity to make a play at Price, the 2012 Cy Young Award winner and a guy who is 61-31 with a 3.12 ERA in his career (786 1/3 innings) and turns 28 in August, Texas must stay patient and keep its top trade pieces and money in the bank. That may mean not filling some holes right now exactly like they want, but getting the opportunity in July (and perhaps even next offseason as well).
Do you agree? Would you save those pieces now for a possible move later or is that risky? Is Profar untouchable or is there a deal where you'd move him?