The pitchers and catchers reported to training camp Wednesday, February 14, in sunny Surprise, Arizona. The excitement levels are high and the number of questions are looming, but there is one common goal amongst everyone. Get to the postseason and win the World Series.
The Rangers front office has been one of the most active during the offseason in finding starting pitchers. Over the span, the team acquired a number of candidates including Matt Moore, Doug Fister, Mike Minor, Bartolo Colon, Edinson Volquez, and Jonathan Niese, along with several others.
The veteran heavy set of starting pitchers are all competing for a spot as Spring Training is in full swing. The potential starting rotation could consist of six members contrary to the usual five. If Opening Day were today, the starting rotation would be projected as Hamels (age 34), Perez (26), Moore (28), Fister (34) and Minor (30). However with Perez currently injured, and the multitude of guys competing, Colon (44), Volquez (34) and Niese (31) could give those candidates a run for their money.
“It’s obviously one of those things that we have thought about, talked about and look at all of the benefits of it.” Jeff Banister said in reference to the probable six-man starting rotation.
Another factor in the race for the rotation is the potential relief pitcher, Matt Bush (age 32), transitioning into a starter. Manager, Jeff Banister, has discussed this possibility since the end of last season.
All of these pitchers within the organization have had great seasons in the past, including All-Star appearances from Volquez and Moore in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Fister put together two stellar back-to-back seasons in 2013 with 14 wins and 2014 with 16 wins. Then there’s the 20-year veteran, Colon, the four-time All-Star and former Cy Young Award winner dating back to 2005.
While the rich history of all of these pitchers remain, will it be enough to transfer to the Ranger locker room known for its exciting and winning culture?
Many questions and concerns prevail with this pitching staff considering the average age of the potential starters is 33 when rounded up. One would think that a six-man starting rotation would be the right way to go to give these veterans the extra rest their bodies desire.
As we approach Opening Day on March 29 against the Houston Astros, Banister has many decisions to make regarding the pitching rotation. Decisions that could make or break the promising season ahead.
Statistics accumulated from baseball-reference.com
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