March 20, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) slides into Texas Rangers third baseman Mike Olt (70) at third base after hitting a triple in the first inning at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Roster moves: Martin optioned to Round Rock; E. Beltre optioned to Frisco; Miclat, Olt, Robinson, Ben Snyder assigned to minor league camp.— John Blake (@RangerBlake) March 24, 2012
Engel Beltre is no surprise, as he wasn't going to make the team under any circumstances. Chris Robinson was just one of the spare catchers they had around in camp, and also wasn't going to make the team.
The other four moves, however, are worthy of at least some comment.
Leonys Martin being optioned isn't really a surprise, but the fact that it happened with two weeks left in camp has to be seen to be at least a minor disappointment. He was talked about as being in the mix to compete for the starting centerfield job, after essentially being handed the 2012 starting job by some fans and media members last summer, but he hasn't had an impressive camp, with his game still seen as being raw. I expect he'll spend most of the year in AAA, getting games and repetitions under his belt.
Ben Snyder, a former Rule 5 pick who didn't stick on the major league roster in 2010 but who did stay with the organization after the Rangers worked out a deal with Cleveland to keep him in exchange for then-17 year old lefty Edwin Escobar, had opened eyes with an impressive spring that had him being talked about as a potential darkhorse candidate for the lefty reliever job. The Rangers have several pitchers they are considering, and Snyder's contract situation -- he's not on the 40 man roster and is under team control all season -- would have made it harder for the Rangers to justify having him start the season on the major league squad because of roster management issues, but he could be someone who will get a look later in the season if the Rangers need lefty relief help.
Greg Miclat was acquired for Taylor Teagarden and was thought to potentially be in the mix to be the team's utility infielder, but apparently didn't do anything to separate himself from the other candidates or convince the Rangers he was major league ready.
Finally, there's Mike Olt. Someone asked Jamey Newberg last night on Twitter if Olt would break the team on the 25 man roster, prompting Jamey to quickly (and rightfully) throw water on that idea. Olt has had a terrific camp and has the coaching staff and onlookers raving about him. At the same time, he was a 2010 draft pick and he missed half of last season with a broken collarbone. Olt has never played above high-A. While he earned a longer look in the major league camp with his play, he should start the season in AA, playing third base and facing minor league pitchers for now. There's a shot he could be in the majors this year, particularly if Mitch Moreland struggles and the Rangers can't find any other first base options, but realistically, Olt shouldn't even be considered as an option until 2013.
UPDATE -- Per Richard Durrett, Ron Washington says Olt will be starting the season at AA Frisco.