The Rangers have a familiarity with C.J. Wilson, and they have more of a track record to judge Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt. Those three are the free-agent starters the Rangers are pursuing, but team president Nolan Ryan doesn't yet have a feel for how things are going to shake out this off-season.
One of the things the Rangers are weighing in their pursuit of Wilson is whether committing multiple years at probably at least $15 million year is a good investment on a pitcher who has 427 1/3 innings as a starter.
"If you look at what Buehrle's done with his career, there's more of a track record there. Same way with Oswalt," Ryan said. "The fact that C.J. has only started 400-something innings, you can look at it two different ways: Does that mean that you really don't know how he will handle the workload going forward? Or is he better prepared to handle the workload going forward? It's hard to say."
The Rangers feel comfortable with Wilson because they know the kind of pitcher he is first-hand, whereas they are basing their judgments of Buehrle and Oswalt on numbers, injury histories and scouting reports.
"We know what C.J.'s capable of doing," Ryan said. "We're really, truly believe in C.J. that he can handle a workload, that he keeps you in ballgames, that he's competitive, that you don't have to worry about him being in shape. We're certainly more familiar and comfortable with him than anyone else."
Buehrle has never thrown fewer than 200 innings since his first full big-league season in 2001 and has never been on the disabled list. Wilson has been healthy since 2009 after having his elbow cleaned up in 2008. Oswalt, though, has a more substantial injury history, including back issues.
"When you look at both those veteran pitchers -- and that's what they are, veteran pitchers that are great competitors -- just about any pitching staff could use either one of those guys," Ryan said. "You have to give consideration to Roy's back and the challenges he's had with it in his career. It's been consistent and persistent."
-- Jeff Wilson