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Hot Stove Talk: Tommy Hanson

Note: This is part of a series looking at some external and internal possibilities for the pitching staff following the news that Derek Holland is expected to miss half the season.

Today's pitcher: Tommy Hanson

According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Rangers and Tommy Hanson's representative are making progress toward a deal. So what does that mean for spring training and the rotation?

If the deal gets done, it's another candidate for the rotation. And with Holland out and some inexperienced and inconsistent internal options available, the Rangers need to exhaust all possibilities.

Hanson, 27, is a classic low-risk/high-reward buy, the kind the Rangers like, especially this late in the offseason. He had a 4.76 ERA the last two seasons in 247 2/3 innings and needs to try to re-establish his value. If you'll remember, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels from the Atlanta Braves for Jordan Walden last year. But after a disappointing 2013, the Angels chose not to tender him a contract.

Hanson, for the first three full seasons of his career, was solid. He had a 3.28 ERA and a 1.175 WHIP from 2009 to 2011 with 431 strikeouts and 148 walks. He pitched in 460 1/3 innings, including more than 200 in 2010. Even though he didn't have good numbers in 2012, he still made 31 starts. Last year, Hanson admitted (in this LA Times story) that he was dealing with "mental issues" in dealing with the death of his stepbrother.

He doesn't come into camp hurt and doesn't have a history of injury issues. So this isn't a case of trying to come back from rehabbing a surgery or anything. It's whether Hanson is mentally and physically ready to go and can return to form this season.

Can he become a viable fifth starter and prove himself better than the club's current candidates? That remains to be seen. But if the price is right, the Rangers may get a shot to see what he can do (maybe a deal that's heavy on incentives) and add another pitcher to the competition. There's nothing wrong with that.