Texas Rangers need a fifth starter if Alexi Ogando is done


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Alexi Ogando throws a pitch
Alexi Ogando’s potential DL stint could force the Rangers to make a waiver-wire move. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers need another pitcher, especially after Wednesday’s news that right-hander Alexi Ogando had a CT scan on his right shoulder after complaining of soreness following his Tuesday start against the Houston Astros.

While the results of that CT won’t be known until sometime Thursday, it seems Ogando might be the next pitcher to find himself done for the year. The Rangers have already shut down Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison for the year, and Neftali Feliz is complaining of soreness in his pitching arm while warming up for a rehab start.

If you listened to our Texas Rangers podcast from Monday night, Dustin Dietz and I talked about this exact scenario and whether or not this team would need to look on the waiver wire for another pitcher.

Granted, the scenario had to do with Matt Harrison being shut down for the rest of the season and not Alexi Ogando. Now, with Ogando facing uncertainty about the rest of his season, it might have forced the Rangers’ hand, especially since the only other guy they can go to for the fifth spot in the rotation is young right-hander Ross Wolf. However, through his three starts this season(41.2 IP), Wolf is 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA but has given up about as many walks (12) as he has strikeouts (16), not to mention opposing hitters hitting .293 against him.

A debate began Wednesday after Minnesota Twins’ first baseman Justin Morneau cleared waivers, allowing the Twins to trade him to any interested team. With his bat seemingly back from the dead, especially over the last 10 to 15 games, the argument that he would be an upgrade, at least offensively, over Mitch Moreland might make sense. However, with Lance Berkman still having problems running, it might be smart to bring Morneau in as the everyday designated hitter if Berkman hits the disabled list again for what could be the final time.

However, now I also can make the argument that the Rangers need to pick through the waiver wire not for a bat but for a pitcher.

A few names who cleared waivers over the last 24 hours are Houston Astros left-hander Erik Bedard and Washington Nationals right-hander Dan Haren. Neither are going to be impact pitchers, like Alex Rios isn’t the impact bat, but they are guys who can slide into the rotation and help this team down the stretch.

Do the Rangers really want to trust Ross Wolf to take the ball every fifth day and keep them in the AL West race? Or does general manager Jon Daniels, and the rest of the Rangers’ front office, want to make sure they don’t allow the Oakland Athletics to gain another game on them for the remainder of the season, especially after erasing a six-game deficit in a very short time.

Haren and Bedard both average about eight strikeouts per nine innings (8.0, 8.2 respectively) but Haren has the most impressive walks per nine innings rate (1.6) over Bedard (4.4).

Haren is in the final year of his one-year $13.5 million contract, so, if you’re the Rangers, you would only owe him a small amount of that deal for the last month and a half of the season. What this team has to ask is will Haren, in a handful of starts through the remainder of the year, give it more than Ross Wolf can?

When we learn Alexi Ogando’s fate, we can start asking questions and making projections about whether the Rangers need another starter. Their front four has kept them afloat, but will a lack of a fifth starter, or a lackluster fifth starter, end up being their downfall?

The Rangers can’t afford a repeat of how the 2012 season ended. With Oakland still hot on the Rangers’ heels, Jon Daniels needs to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

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