In an ideal world Padilla and Millwood would be healthy and carrying us to a pennant chase. I'm willing to put money that just won't happen. This team has made huge strides as the season has gone on. Hell on Sunday three rookies hit in the winning runs, helping us take 2 of 3 from the Central leading White Sox.
So as a fan what should we expect post deadline as a realistic Ranger rotation? Well there are three scenarios. First, Padilla gets healthy and is dealt. The second is JD realizes playing the kids in the short term may lead to some lumps but in the long term will push this team forward in the later part of 2009 so he trades both Millwood and Padilla. The third is status quo.
I'm not a fan of the status quo. Its led to the worst pitching staff in baseball. More of the same doesn't build toward anything next year.
It appears Feldman will head to the bullpen or pitch till he hits 130 and then the Rangers plan to shut him down to avoid any possibilities of dead arm next season. That opens one spot. I like Matt Harrison, but would rather see him return to AAA to work on mixing his pitches and growing confident in his secondary stuff. At this point I'd like to see what Dustin Nippert's got. Yeah he kinda struggled against the Chi Sox but I'm giving everyone a pass for pitching in 99 degree heat in the middle of the afternoon. Regardless he's out of options and has pitched well as a starter the last month or so in AAA. He also has the best "stuff." The Rangers should give him every opportunity to show why he was once one of the best prospects in baseball. We've had a tendency to give up on pitchers early. I hope we don't make that mistake with him too.
If I could dump Millwood for anything decent right now I would. Hell the Rangers should eat like 5 million on that contract just to buy a better prospect. He's done nothing but decline since he arrived and whatever club house leadership he has is mitigated by the abysmal showings on the mound. Unfortunately, that's what going to keep him here and in this rotation. He has negative trade value. The only silver lining may be that he won't reach his targets to where his option is forced to be picked up by the club.
I'm also in the minority of liking Padilla when he's healthy. I really hope he gets that way and is packaged with someone for a really nice trade. It's not that he's bad but because we can't dump Millwood, I'd move Padilla to ensure there's a spot for Hunter and or Harrison next season.
So it should look something like this:
Millwood, Hurley, Mendoza, Nippert, and Harrison until McCarthy is ready to go then send Harrison back down.
Ideally, it'd be Padilla instead of Millwood but I gave up fantasies long ago. So what does everyone think the Rangers should do and what will they actually do?