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The Astacio situation

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Another bad game for Pedro Astacio...

His ERA is now up to 5.60 on the season. Ignore his previous two starts, both against the hapless AAA-caliber Royals, and it is 6.47...or .01 higher than the 6.46 that Ryan Drese was sporting when he got put on waivers.

Orel Hershiser may want to think that he can save everyone, but the reality is that Pedro Astacio isn't saveable...he's not longer a major league caliber starting pitcher, a fact that was clearly drummed home tonight.

Drese's DFA, though, probably has bought Astacio at least a couple of more starts, since various factors limit the available options in AAA. With Ricardo Rodriguez being called up, the AAA rotation now is Ryan Drese, John Hudgins, John Wasdin, Josh Rupe, and R.A. Dickey. Drese isn't coming back anytime soon, Rupe has one start at AAA, and Hudgins isn't on the 40 man roster (and supposedly isn't a big favorite of the current regime anyway).

Kam Loe, Nick Regilio, Wil Rodriguez, Jason Standridge, Ryan Snare and Juan Dominguez all seem to be locked into bullpen roles, which makes them unlikely to replace Astacio. Matt Riley is hurt, and was pretty awful in the majors before he got hurt, and Joaquin Benoit has proven on multiple occasions that he's not well suited to a starting role.

Realistically, if the Rangers cut bait with Astacio, the most likely candidate from inside the organization to take his place in the rotation is R.A. Dickey. Dickey is currently working himself back at Oklahoma, having pitched just a total of 8 innings in two games thusfar, but he's one of Buck's favorite players, which jumps him to the top of the list of possible Pedro replacements. The only other realistic option, John Wasdin, is sporting a AAA ERA near 5, although like Dickey, he seems to score big points within the organization for his moxie, which could make him a candidate if Astacio continues to struggle.

But my guess is that Astacio gets a couple more opportunities to try to get his act together, while Dickey stretches out his arm for the Redhawks. Once Dickey can throw 100 pitches -- which should be in the next 10-14 days or so -- then I expect to see him up here in the rotation in place of Astacio, unless Astacio strings together a couple of nice starts in a row in the next week or two.

If the Rangers don't make a trade, their best bet internally would probably be Hudgins, although I'd prefer to see him spend another 6-8 weeks in Oklahoma, particularly because I don't want the Rangers to do a Sam Narron on him and call him up, immediately sour on him, and end up burning an option and losing him on waivers. But if it is mid-July, and Hudgins is still sporting an ERA in the mid-3s, then at that point, I think it will be time for the Rangers to call him up and see what he can do.