It should now be clear to everyone who matters in the Rangers' front office -- from Nolan Ryan to Jon Daniels to Thad Levine -- that the Rangers need a front-of-the-rotation starter.
It's not optional.
The Rangers must add a No.1 starter or they won't win their third consecutive AL West title. And you can forget about a third consecutive trip to the World Series without fortifying the rotation.
Yes, Lewis was that important to the 2012 rotation.
So whether it's Philadelphia's Cole Hamels or Milwaukee's Zack Greinke or some stud the Rangers have targeted that we haven't heard about -- always a possibility with the Rangers' front office -- this team needs an anchor for its staff.
Lewis wasn't sexy, but he was a dude who took the ball every fifth day and competed as hard as an athlete with slightly above-average stuff can compete. He recorded outs with guile, excellent command and a slider with wicked movement on the days he had his best stuff.
But his most important trait is his mental and physical toughness.
Lewis always took the ball. In the past two seasons, Lewis had made 64 consecutive regular-season starts. He didn't miss a start with Texas until going on the disabled list last month.
And Lewis pitched his best when the games mattered most the past two seasons. Lewis was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in the postseason. Only once in eight starts did he yield more than two runs.
Without Lewis, the Rangers' rotation no longer has a lead dog.
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