While any Major League franchise worth their weight in gold is looking for upgrades and depth on a consistent basis, it seems to be more true with pitching than any other position.
Given that important pieces of the 2013 pitching staff were decimated with injuries -- guys like Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch, and Martin Perez all dealt with injuries at various points -- that seems to be even more important heading into the 2014 season for the Rangers. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that Jon Paul Morosi left a Rangers-related tidbit on Twitter late this evening, especially since the injury bug has already started to bite before pitchers and catchers even report to Spring Training.
Source: Rangers are in talks with free agent starter Tommy Hanson. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 7, 2014
Hanson, 27, spent 2013 with the Angels in what turned out to be a mostly fruitless endeavor to return to form since rotator cuff surgery in 2011.
Pre-surgery, Hanson looked to be a solid Major League pitcher with a high upside, but unlike Tommy John surgery, shoulder injuries have proven to be much more difficult to overcome for pitchers. Some notable names of guys that come to mind that have never really recovered from similar injuries are Johan Santana and Brandon Webb.
Webb, of course, attempted a comeback in a minor league stint with the Rangers in 2011 before finally being forced to retire. Hanson, in the two seasons since his surgery, has compiled an ERA of 4.76 in 247.2 innings with an xFIP of 4.24 in 2012 and 4.83 in 2013.
As the Rangers have a front office that likes to stockpile players with potential upside, I can see where the interest comes from. If the Rangers end up making an offer, I'm not sure it makes much sense to do anything more than a minor league offer with a chance to make the Major League club. Anything more, and I see it being a potential liability should Hanson fail to pan out even as soon as Spring Training.
As we're now about nine days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Surprise, AZ, I'd imagine we'll see some resolution on this front within a week, most likely less. The franchise would likely want to get Hanson into camp as soon as possible in order to better beging to discern exactly who will man the spot that is thought to be wide open in Derek Holland absence to begin the season.