After Santa Cruz, the USN had only one operational carrier, the Saratoga. The Royal Navy loaned HMS Victorious to the USN in late December 42, arriving March 1943 at Pearl Harbor. September 1943, HMS Victorious began her journey back to the UK.
Now suppose the Royal Navy (or Churchill or the Admiralty or whoever in charge) opposed loaning a carrier. Or Admiral Ernest J. King, for his own reasons, opposed asking the British to lend a hand - and ta-dah! - there's a theoretical place for USS Ranger to be sent for the Pacific instead.
And as she would be there already, even though unfit for PTO operations, she could still be used as aircraft ferry when the Essex-Class carriers arrive to take over fleet operations.
"A big butcher's bill is not necessarily evidence of good tactics"
- Wavell's reply to Churchill, after the latter complained about faint-heartedness, as he discovered that British casualties in the evacuation from Somaliland had been only 260 men.