If the Rangers let all free agents walk, and make zero trades, this could be their pitching staff in 2012:
That awesome, yet dirt cheap, pitching staff would have 3 arbitration players: Hunter, O'Day, Harrison; and 9 pre arb players.
In addition, coming into 2012, the Rangers could control the following talented pitchers who already have major league experience: Feldman, Nippert, Mathis, Hurley. Depth.
Further, in 2012, the Rangers could control additional prospects who might easily be ready if needed: Michael Ballard, Danny Gutierrez, Evan Reed, Ben Snyder, Ryan "I'm 6'4" and I throw 94" Tatusko, Kasey Kiker, Tim Murphy, plus Main, Font, Brigham, Pimentel, Boscan, Wieland, and more. Fabulosity. Consider: if the Astros, for instance, traded their entire current major league roster for the entire roster of the Rangers High A Affiliate - the Bakersfield Blaze - might the Astros come out ahead in the deal?
The Rangers are probably going to make trades - especially in the off season after 2011 - so as to recoup value from players who would otherwise be left off the 40 man roster and be lost without compensatory return. However, the Rangers do not need to trade for major league talent in order to have strong pitching staffs in 2012 and beyond. All the following have big arms which are perfect for playoff success as starters: Holland, Feliz, Scheppers, Martin Perez. Ogando has a big arm which is perfect for playoff success as a closer. Strop throws 94-95 with deceptive fast arm action which makes his fastball difficult to catch up with. Strop, therefore, also has closer stuff.
I retain patience with the Rangers. I'm not desperate to win in 2010 and 2011. I don't want the big arm prospects broken up and scattered across major league baseball. I want the potential dynasty to remain intact. If it means Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler - both scheduled free agents before the 2013 season - fail to win world championships in Arlington: I don't care. Both those players are underperforming, anyway. If they perform consistently and excellently, they might win here. Cruz and Michael Young (dammit) will be here through 2013; Elvis through 2014; Borbon through 2015; Smoak and Max Ramirez through 2016. The team on the field will not be lacking in talent. Engel "Willie Mays Hays" Beltre, anyone?
Engel Beltre ==>Engel Beltre went full Willie Mays Hayes ("Hit like Mays, run like Hayes") on a game winning HR: throwing his bat 30 feet into the air, and thus nearly starting a riot - which riot was averted, in part, due to swift action by Bakersfield Manager Bill Hasselman (who, I hope, will be managing the Rangers in 2012).
Compare: when Vlad Guerrerro reeeaaaallly gets into a HR, he stands at the plate and admires it like Reggie Jackson, then he goes around the bases at no faster than a mosey. It never starts a riot. People don't even get angry. He's Vlad! The league loves him.
Only the home fans love Willie Mays Hayes (er, if he were, you know, an actual, real player).