The Rangers are considering how much to broaden their search for a starting pitcher after the dependable Colby Lewis was lost for the year.
The growing possibility that Cole Hamels winds up re-signing with the Phillies already meant the Rangers had to expand their search by a name or two. But the loss of Lewis means they will look at as many as five outside options.
The other possibility is they move Alexi Ogando, who made the All-Star team last year as a starter, from the pen back to the rotation, especially if they have Neftali Feliz ready to go back to the bullpen. But in the meantime, they are looking at five rotation options ...
1. Cole Hamels: That's their first choice, and if he somehow doesn't re-sign now, it'd be interesting to which one of the Rangers' tremendous stable of prospects would be included in a deal. It's doubtful they'd part with shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, the organizational favorite, but third baseman Mike Olt could be a possibility.
2. Zack Greinke: They like Greinke as a pitcher but may have some concerns about a possible playoff game at New York or Boston or some other high-pressure locale.
3. Cliff Lee: The Rangers are not on his 21-team no-trade list and they scouted his last two starts, including Tuesday night vs. the Brewers, but would want the Phillies to offset a large chunk of the $98 million to go on his contract through 2015 for any chance at a reunion..
5. "The Tampa guys": Most likely that means James Shields, whose $9-million option for 2013 is rich for the Rays. Even if they'd be willing to talk about Jeremy Hellickson, Shields is the logical one to go.