By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on June 12, 2014
Although they had high expectations coming into the 2014 season, the Texas Rangers have gotten off to a tough start and have underperformed those expectations thus far. The biggest culprit for Texas' slow start has been their starting pitching, which was thought to be an issue entering the season. The Rangers have cycled through quite a few starters with limited results and could be on the lookout to acquire an ace before this year's deadline.
While James Loney is certainly not a pitcher, he'd be a nice temporary fill-in for Prince Fielder, who is out for the season after neck surgery. While Loney offers an entirely different skill set than Fielder in that he's a plus defender and more of a singles hitter than a home run hitter, he's a free agent after the season and can still provide a consistent bat and glove to cover a position that figures to be a problem without Fielder.
Jeff Samarzija isn't a free agent until 2016, but the Cubs may try to maximize their return by dealing him to a team that can receive an extra year of control. The Rangers have never been shy about parting with prospects to acquire star pitchers, and this could be a good opportunity for them to do so as Samardzija would immediately become the ace of their staff. Texas also possesses the ability to sign Samardzija long-term if they so choose.
Unlike Samardzija, James Shields is a free agent after this season, and if Kansas City continues to struggle, he could become a rent-a-pitcher for a team in need of rotation help. The Rangers have the prospects to acquire Shields and the money to secure him with an extension, so this could be a seamless fit. While Shields' fly ball tendencies may not play so well in Texas, he'd be an immediate upgrade at the top of the Texas rotation.
The Rangers were burned before by Lee in 2010 after they acquired him at the trade deadline and he opted to sign with Philadelphia in the offseason, but with the current state of their rotation, Texas could choose to let bygones be bygones. Lee has been on the DL since mid-May with a left elbow strain, which could cause the Rangers some pause, but if he gets full bill of health, he's as solid as they come even at age 35 (soon to be 36).
David Price could be the big fish in this year's deadline pond, and if Tampa Bay chooses to make him available, they'll likely have no shortage of offers. The Rangers have resisted parting with top prospect Jurickson Profar, who they envisioned being their everyday 2B before he tore a ligament in his shoulder, but he could be the piece that entices Tampa to part with their ace. Price would be a huge get for Texas and could sign long-term.
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