If ever a team was set up for a six-man rotation, it might be the 2012 Texas Rangers.
The Rangers indeed will have six potential starters if they sign Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. They could trade a starter. They could return right-hander Alexi Ogando to the bullpen. They also could try a six-man rotation.
Nolan Ryan, the team’s old-school club president, might object. One Rangers official said he “doubts” that the team would end up using six starters. But every rotation candidate except right-hander Colby Lewis might benefit from a reduced workload, particularly after two straight runs to the World Series.
Darvish did not pitch every fifth day in Japan. Feliz, the Rangers’ former closer, will be restricted in the number of innings he pitches. Ogando returned to the bullpen last season after his innings mounted.
The Rangers’ two lefties, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, both were extended last season to career-high innings totals and likely will be monitored closely.
Another thing about the Rangers: The versatility of infielder Michael Young could enable them to carry one fewer position player, which almost certainly would be necessary if they went with a six-man rotation.
The White Sox, Rays and Royals were among the clubs that briefly went with a six-man rotation last season. No team has committed to such a plan from the start of a season.
The Rangers could be the first. Of course, the more conventional route would be to build a powerhouse bullpen featuring the late-inning trio of Ogando, Mike Adams and new closer Joe Nathan.
If Darvish signs — once Darvish signs – the fun will begin.
— Ken Rosenthal